Who’s the best newcomer in the NBA? Josh Smith finished fourth in ESPN’s preseason prognostication, and Brandon Jennings ranked eighth.
Who’s the worst newcomer in the NBA, relative to expectations? Smith holds the No. 2 spot, and Jennings is fifth.
So, that clears up absolutely nothing.
The only other player in the top 10 for both categories is Dwight Howard, and that speaks more to the oversized expectations he faces with the Rockets than anything else. Smith and Jennings are truly polarizing, which should make the upcoming Pistons season so intriguing.
Smith is paid as if he’ll be among the best newcomers, and Jennings is paid as if he might be among the worst, which is why the Pistons were wise to grab the point guard in a sign-and-trade. With Smith, it seems the Pistons were more focused on adding talent no matter the cost.
Both Smith and Jennings are gambles in the truest sense of the word. Like the rest of ESPN’s voters, I have little clue which way it will go.