- Donta Smith - Former Hawks swingman Smith has somewhat realised his potential, but not in leagues of much calibre. He averaged 21/8/3 in China last season, 17/6/3 in Venezuela, 12/7/3 in Puerto Rico the year before, and 15/5/4 as a star sixth man for the 2009 Australian NBL champion Melbourne South Dragons. And here he is in a Bulgarian slam dunk contest.
Smith still can't shoot threes and never quite turned into Ron Artest, as planned. But the most recent player to be drafted directly out of junior college is certainly talented.
Liaoning began the season with the ex-NBA players, Richard and Smith. Smith has toured the Asian and South American leagues for a few years now, and had previously been playing in Venezuela, appearing in the Liga Sudeamericana with Espartanos de Margarita. For Richard, however, this was his first trip outside of America. Everything before now has been either the NBA or D-League for him. And he found it tough going in China, as evidenced by his averages. They're not bad by any stretch, yet they pale to most of the above.
In 2008-09, Smith started out with Shanxi in China, and was beasting. He averaged roughly 23/6/5/3 in 15 games, but left to go to Australia, where he was the sixth man for the NBL Champion Adelaide 36ers. He then moved to Puerto Rico, but was kicked out of the league after testing positive for marijuana. This season, Smith initially returned to Shanxi to average this amount, but left after only seven games. And rather than return to Puerto Rico, Smith decided to spend this summer in Venezuela instead, playing for Marinos de Anzoategui. He is averaging 29 minutes, 15.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.9 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 0.8 blocks per game, shooting 50% from the field and 35% from three point range.
As you can tell from the sheer number of them, Shanxi have had a lot of trouble with their imports this year. They tried out about ten in the offseason, eventually settling upon three; Smith, Taylor and Michael Sweetney. The team had wanted to bring back Lee Benson, who was a star for them last year, but they refused to yield to his contract demands. Taylor has been with the team the whole season, but the rest has been a juggling act. Even though he played well, Smith was replaced after seven games by Adeleke, who got injured in his second game and was replaced for a short time by Benson, seemingly having yielded some on his contract demands. Benson was then replaced after five games by Marbury, which you probably already knew. (Sweetney never played a game for them, by the way.)
Note: Non-US teams that the player
has played for are, unless stated otherwise, from the top division in
that nation. If a league or division name is expressly stated, it's not
the top division. The only exceptions to this are the rare occasions where
no one league is said to be above the other, such as with the JBL/BJ League
split in Japan.