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Greg Smith couldn't play his way into Rick Carlisle's rotation this season

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Whether he was still affected by surgery from the previous season or not, Greg Smith never quite earned the coach's trust.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Smith was brought in to be Tyson Chandler's primary backup at center. The fourth-year player showed plenty of potential in his second season with the Houston Rockets when Smith logged career highs in almost every category. However, the following season he suffered a knee injury and underwent surgery that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Dallas was hoping that they were getting a young talent at a discount when they signed him. Instead, Smith appeared in only 42 games and played just 363 minutes.

It was clear early on that Rick Carlisle didn't have confidence in Smith. He played him in nine of the first 11 games but Smith's minutes only broke double digits twice. Then there was a string of seven games in which Smith was listed as a DNP-Coach's Decision. Carlisle loves coach's decisions. Smith was squarely planted at the end of the bench, barely sniffing playing time.

Smith was eventually given the opportunity to prove himself in a 13-game stretch from December through January. Anyone who follows the Mavericks knows that Carlisle's mantra to his players is "be ready." This was Smith's opportunity to earn a rotation spot. Unfortunately, it didn't appear that Smith was ready.

In the 13 games, Smith averaged three points on just over 60 percent shooting and 3.2 rebounds in 14 minutes of play. Never once did he hit double figures in scoring or rebounding. It was about as poor a showing as he could have had.

From that point on, Smith resumed his role on at the end of the bench, appearing sporadically. As the Mavericks frantically added more big men, Smith found himself listed as inactive towards the end of the season. Amar'e Stoudemire and Bernard James, who was signed immediately after playing in China, replaced him.

What began as a potentially smart acquisition became a frustrating situation for both Smith and the Mavericks. Neither Smith nor the Mavs made any mention of his injury hampering his abilities. However, it's clear that something wasn't right with Smith. He's too young to post career highs just two seasons ago to averaging career lows with Dallas. Whatever the case, he was a disappointment.