PHILADELPHIA-Ish Smith has been everywhere in the NBA. The 13-year veteran in the NBA, currently with the Denver Nuggets, has played for 13 teams in his career and that includes the Philadelphia 76ers.
After looking for consistent NBA minutes with different teams, Smith joined the Sixers in the 2014-15 season after being waived by the Oklahoma City Thunder and he finally got his chance. He played 27.1 minutes per game in 25 games with 14 starts. That led to him joining the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2015 offseason before being traded back to the Sixers in the 2015-16 season.
Overall, he played 75 games for the Sixers across two seasons and he met a young big man by the name of Joel Embiid during his time in Philadelphia. While he never played a game with the big fella due to his foot injuries, Smith was left feeling impressed by what Embiid could do on the floor during their time together.
With Smith making another return to Philadelphia on Saturday, he spoke on what he remembered about Embiid and how happy he is for his success now.
Smith praises Embiid
"Jo, we sat on the plane together. He would sit right beside me and I'm so happy for him because he would talk about what he was gonna do and how he wanted to do it here in Philly and it's all came to fruition. We was sitting on the plane and he'd be like 'Ish, I wanna do this, I'm gonna come. This year, I'm hurt. Next year, I'm gonna come back and play. I'm gonna play well. I'm gonna get an extension, and from there, we're gonna be in the playoffs from then on. Like for the rest.' And it's all come to fruition.
So I'm happy for him. That's my guy. Obviously, I'm back in the West so it's different, last time I was here was playoff time when I was in D.C. so we had to compete in the playoffs, but it's just different vibes. Fans, you guys, have always shown a lot of love whenever I came back despite being on the opposite side."
Smith on if there was any doubt that Embiid would succeed
"No. He had been through so many injuries, but he gave me the vibes that he was focused and he was locked in and what he was saying, he meant what he was saying so I never doubt anybody. I really don't. when you get somebody who believes in themselves and that's dangerous.
Jo was somebody who believed in himself, believed in what he said, and he had all the talent and the skill. I remember watching him work out one time and I bounce pass it to him one time and he was like 'Ish'-because remember, at the time, me and Nerlens (Noel) had a good connection. He's like 'Ish, I can catch lobs, too' so I came off the pick-and-roll and threw it to him. He got so high and this was young Jo so he was light, he was working out every day, slim, and he went up and got it. I was like 'Yo, this kid is unbelievable'.
So I went home during the summer and they would call me. Coach Brett Brown would call me and be like 'Ish, this dude is-I'm telling you, he's unbelievable. He's unbelievable' so you kinda knew it was gonna happen, it just takes some time and now he's playing well. Now we got a beautiful matchup (Embiid and Nikola Jokic). We got two big men who with the game is now all 3-point shots, you got two legit big men so it will be fun to watch."
Smith is thankful for his time in Philadelphia
"It's pure joy. This is where kinda like my career kinda started in a sense in being able to play so I'm very grateful and thankful that the Lord brought me here because Philly was great. It really was. I was talking to somebody the other day, when you think about those teams, you had Robert Covington, Richaun Holmes, you had Christian Wood, you had TJ McConnell, you had Nerlens, you had Jahlil Okafor, we were talented, but we were young, Jerami Grant, we had a talented team, and we were all around the same age so we were just enjoying it. Figuring out the NBA game. We didn't win a lot of games, but I think Philly springboarded a lot of our careers, and gave us the ability to kinda submit ourselves in the NBA."
Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire