Photo: AP Photo/Nick Wass

MVP chants broke out for Ish Smith during the Washington Wizards upset victory over the Boston Celtics on Jan. 6.

“If it were a two-game season, I would have to agree with the crowd: MVP,” said head coach Scott Brooks. “And he’s bringing back the mid-range. He plays. Man, that guy, he’s hard to stay in front of. He changes direction, his pace, speed, it’s hard—it’s hard to stay in front of him.”

Smith has averaged 29.5 points and 6.0 assists on 64.3 percent from the field over his last two games, and he attributes many parts of his game to Hall of Famer Steve Nash.

“You know what’s funny, I was watching some tape of [Nash] last night,” Smith said after the team’s win. “I’m always trying to get better. The game of basketball, I love to play the game and Steve did such a great job, as you know, and we know watching him. Probing, keeping his dribble, he was unbelievable in the mid-range game. I sometimes thought he didn’t shoot enough. I used to watch tons of him.”

Smith has been a valuable part of the Wizards bench who average 50.1 points per game, second in the NBA to the Los Angeles Clippers.

His level of play is speaking for itself, but another aspect of Smith’s impact on the team comes in the locker room and mentoring the young players.

“There’s certain stuff he does where I’m like, ‘I can’t do that.’ Just the pace he plays at and how calm he stays, how collected he is and his composure,” Troy Brown Jr. said of Smith. “He’s definitely a great player and somebody definitely to look up to that’s been in the league for a long time.”