Maintaining that self-belief has been crucial, especially over the last 12 months. Like the rest of us, he’s seen his name pop up in trade rumours. He’s heard people speculate about his position becoming obsolete in the ever-evolving NBA. Has it motivated him? “That is not motivating me at all,” he insisted. “I know what is motivating me – my family, I’ve got my teammates motivating me, the front office who are [telling me] what they want to do motivates me. I understand people got to talk, people are meant to talk, it’s never going to be different these days with social media and all that stuff, I see some [expletive] things but I just don’t give a [expletive]. I know what I’ve got to do, I know what my role is on this team and the team is the most important thing.”
October 20, 2017 | 9:05 pm EDT Update
Smith tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in August 2015, the summer before his senior year of high school. He experienced swelling in the knee after shootaround Friday, and the decision was made to not start him less than an hour before the game.