Adam Smith named MVP of the week
THESSALONIKI (Greece) - PAOK point guard Adam Smith has heard team-mates and journalists refer to him as 'The Invisible Hand' countless times throughout his career, evoking the famous market theory of his 18th century namesake philosopher and economist.
Casademont Zaragoza however can for sure testify that Smith's both hands were very much visible on Wednesday night, performing the sort of basketball trickery they could do nothing to stop.
My three-point shooting has been a complete team effort - Adam Smith
Smith led the Thessaloniki black-and-whites to a 93-78 win over the visiting Spanish side by delivering a performance rated at 28 in terms of efficiency to earn the Gameday 6 MVP accolade in the 2019-20 Basketball Champions League.
"We had other players stepping up and making big plays early on the offensive end, so I didn’t have to force anything," Smith explained to championsleague.basketball.
"I allowed the game to come to me and, once it did, my scoring and shooting made the game much easier for everyone else.
"The beginning of the second half really felt like a turning point for me, I got to the free-throw line early and I also made a couple of well-contested shots.
"From that point on I felt like every shot was going in."
And go in they did. The 27-year-old American poured in 31 points on 11 of 16 from the floor, including 6 of 11 shooting from behind the three-point arc. He didn't commit a single turnover, despite staying on the court for 34 minutes.
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"I’ve been shooting the ball well as of late and I’m in a good rhythm offensively," Smith said.
"My coach and teammates understand that, and they’ve been doing a good job of helping me get open looks at the basket.
Our team is very hungry right now - Adam Smith
"My three-point shooting has been a complete team effort."
"We have so many guys who can make shots and create plays on our team, that I don’t always have to look to score.
"When I’m shooting it well of course I'm looking more often to be a threat offensively, but I have the upmost confidence in my teammates."
Smith and his team-mates are looking to turn their season around. PAOK started with four defeats in a row in Group D, but the point guard had 27 points on Gameday 5 to lead them to a first win, 95-91 over Brindisi.
PAOK still remain bottom of the group standings following their second success, against Zaragoza, but there is renewed optimism in the air in Thessaloniki.
"Our team is very hungry right now and Coach has done an amazing job of motivating us and putting us in the best positions to succeed," Smith said.
One man show in Thessaloniki! @AdamIIISmith becomes the seventh man to score 3⃣0⃣+ points in the #BasketballCL this season, putting up 31 on 11-of-16 shooting to lead @PAOKBasketball to a surprise win over Zaragoza.— Basketball Champions League (@BasketballCL) November 20, 2019
📊 https://t.co/t7htgvdtEo pic.twitter.com/1C5064GTsI
Coach Kostas Charalampidis, a former point guard himself who had been the PAOK assistant coach since 2016, took the reins of the team after they parted ways with Kostas Flevarakis in late October.
"He’s really a players' coach," Smith said.
"He helps to keep us organized, but he also allows the freedom to create and make winning plays.
I simply want to be remembered as a fighter - Adam Smith
"At this point we’re trying to get better with each game.
"We’ve played two amazing back to back games, and the next game [at Telekom Baskets Bonn] will be just as important and more difficult.
"So we’re just trying to continue to improve and hope things play in our favor in terms of the group rankings.
This is the second time that Smith claims the weekly MVP honor in the BCL. The first time was on Gameday 2 in the 2017-18 season, when he was playing for Elan Chalon.
He parted ways with the French club shortly after however, so this is really the first season we get to properly enjoy his play in the BCL.
The point guard laughs it off when people call him 'the invisible hand', and he wants to leave a different kind of legacy in Thessaloniki:
"I simply want to be remembered as a fighter," he said.
"This year, I believe that’s the best and most important quality of our team.
"So regardless of what happens, I want PAOK to remember that we, myself and the team, gave it everything we had and fought proudly for the organization."