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Rik Smits, Netherlands
Nba.com: Played on the Dutch National Team after his sophomore and junior seasons at Marist
Has a sister living in the United States, but the rest of his family lives in Holland Collects Roadrunner cartoon memorabilia Is an accomplished mechanic and collects and rebuilds old cars When 7-4 Rik Smits entered the NBA in 1988, he was considered a raw talent with tremendous potential. Six years later the "Dunking Dutchman" and his deadly midrange jumper helped the Indiana Pacers pull within one game of the NBA Finals, and in 1997-98 he was selected for the Eastern Conference All-Star team. Smits has developed into one of the most effective centers in the game, particularly at the offensive end. He has the ability to dominate games offensively, but his tendency to pick up fouls often has limited his effectiveness. A native of the Netherlands, Smits came to the United States in 1984 to attend Marist College in upstate New York. The gangly giant toiled in relative obscurity for most of his college career, but after averaging 24.7 points and 8.7 rebounds as a senior he became a coveted NBA prospect. Enticed by his combination of size and skill, the Pacers chose him with the second overall pick in the 1988 NBA Draft, behind Danny Manning. Smits had a creditable first season, earning NBA All-Rookie First Team honors in 1988-89 after averaging 11.7 points and 6.1 rebounds. The next four seasons saw the Pacers hover around the .500 mark during the regular season and then bow out of the playoffs in the first round each year. Smits upped his offensive numbers to 15.5 points per game in 1989-90 while finishing ninth in the league in blocked shots (2.06 per game). His playing time and production slipped in 1990-91. Sharing time at center with LaSalle Thompson, Smits played 700 fewer minutes than the previous year and averaged a career-low 10.9 points. He gradually returned to form over the next two seasons. His performance in the 1993 NBA Playoffs was a harbinger of things to come. Although the Pacers lost to the New York Knicks in the first round, Smits was magnificent, averaging 22.5 points in four games against Patrick Ewing. The 1993-94 campaign proved to be a breakthrough year for both Smits and the Pacers. Smits averaged 17.7 points during the season's final 40 games, then helped the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals, in which they lost to New York in seven games. In 1994-95 he helped Indiana to a 50-32 record and a division title on the strength of his 17.9 points and career-high 7.7 rebounds per game. The club went all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals again, this time falling in seven games to the Orlando Magic. Smits strengthened his position among the top pivotmen in the NBA in 1995-96, averaging a career-high 18.5 points to go along with 6.9 rebounds per game. But he missed the first 30 games of the 1996-97 season while rehabilitating from foot surgery, and in his absence the Pacers stumbled out of the gate and never totally recovered, failing to make the NBA Playoffs for the first time in eight years. Smits came back to play in 73 games in 1997-98, helping the Pacers bounce back to 58 wins and the Eastern Conference Finals. He was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team for the first time in his career. He was Indiana's second-leading score in 1998-99 at 14.9 ppg, his lowest mark in six years. Although he played and started 49 games, he played much of the season on sore feet that hampered his ability to run and jump.
Name: Rik Smits
Nickname: Dunking Dutchman (US)
Origin: Einhoven, Holland
Drafted: 1988, 1st round, 2nd pick by the Pacers
Website: & InterBasket
Teams (jersey): Dutch National Team, Marist University, Indiana Pacers (45)
Ibn Facts: Married Candice. Candice and Rik Smits have two kids named Jasmine and Derek. Rik Smits played his entire basketball career for the Indiana Pacers (from 1988 to 2000).
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