Kenny “The Jet” Smith is well known for his current role as a studio analyst on TNT’s award winning show Inside The NBA. However, during his ten year NBA career, Smith was an integral part of the Houston Rockets squad that won back to back NBA titles in 1994 and 1995, led by Finals MVP Hakeem Olajuwon. This year’s Houston Rockets squad boasts the best record in the NBA and is led by James Harden who many consider to be this year’s MVP. Despite all of that Smith doesn’t believe that this year’s Rocket’s squad compares to the 90’s championship squads for one simple reason.
“Our best player is much better than their best player,” said Smith on a recent episode of the Unnecessary Roughness Podcast.
“They’re a really good team. But when it comes down to it our best player is better than their best player”.
Of course Smith is referring to NBA Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon. During his first title run with the Houston Rockets Olajuwon became the first and only player in NBA history to win NBA MVP, NBA Finals MVP and Defensive Player Of The Year in the same season.
Despite his beliefs that this year’s Rockets team doesn’t compare to Houston’s championship squads from 1994 and 1995 Smith still believes that they have a real shot to capture the title because the team is much better defensively than it has been in previous years.
“They definitely have a shot to win it because they’ve elevated their game from last year in terms of execution,”
The Rockets rank top 10 in the NBA this season in terms of defensive efficiency.
“They don’t turn the ball over, they’re not careless with the ball and they’re better defensively in key moments”.
The two-time NBA champion discussed much more than Houston Rockets squads during his time on the podcast check out the full interview below:
Smith, a Queens, NY native also listed his Mount Rushmore of Queens basketball players.
You’re originally from Queens, NY. I’m interested to know who would go on your Mount Rushmore of basketball players from Queens.
Smith: Mark Jackson, Bob Cousy, Anthony Mason, you know that I have to be on it myself, we would need a big man in there so I would probably take Ron Artest over Lamar Odom but that’s a toss up between 5 and 6 and I would put Rafer (Alston) 7th.