Russ Smith was a hell of a player for Louisville a couple of years ago. Or, to put it another way, he was an entertaining player. Though his NBA career has been more of a struggle, Smith absolutely dominated a D-League game on Wednesday evening for the Delaware 87ers.
Smith had 65 points against the Canton Charge, setting the D-league record for most points in a game. According to the D-League’s YouTube account, Smith’s effort broke the previous D-league mark of 61 points “set by former teammate Jordan McRae less than three months earlier.”
As SportsCenter noted, Smith went 24-of-42 from the field, 16-of-20 from the foul line, but only connected on one triple in his record-setting performance.
A number of Smith’s points came from him driving to the hoop with some jump shots sprinkled in between. Pull-up jumpers, especially from beyond the arc, weren’t really Smith’s thing, but it’s incredible to see a 6’0 player drive to the hole past two (three? four?) defenders at a time. The fun part about Smith’s game dating back to his time at Louisville was his tenacity. You live and die by it to an extent, but when he’s on, boy is he on. And he was unstoppable on Wednesday night.
Does a performance like this garner some attention that gets Smith back in the league? Maybe, but let’s enjoy and digest one of the best individual efforts of the year, regardless of whether it’s the D-League or not.