"The Atlanta Hawks appear to be a team on the rise, but I fear there is one issue -- one player, actually -- who could torpedo their ascent. Josh Smith . He may be one of their most talented young athletes, but he's also showing signs of being the most immature, as well. During the Hawks game against the Pistons, he was yelling at teammate Tyronn Lue because he wasn't passing him the ball enough. He yelled at coach Mike Woodson to get Lue out of the game and had to be restrained by coaches and teammates. When he did get the ball, he often broke plays to get off his own shot. Then, after playing terribly most of the game, he was given a gift of three free throws (on a debatable call against Rasheed Wallace ). After he made the free throws, which only tied the game, he gave the Pistons' bench the stink-eye, as if he did something heroic. The Pistons won the game on the ensuing possession. Smith, an unrestricted free agent in July, is playing for a contract and not necessarily to help the Hawks win games. That is a dangerous element on a young team."Josh Smith in the AJC today:
"It's a lie."Tyronn Lue from the same Sekou Smith story:
"We never got into it. So he had to be restrained by other players and coaches ... man, are you serious? None of that happened."Me, recapping the opening night game:
"[Smith] spent the second half being exploited by Dallas's pick-and-roll and clearly not playing within the team's defensive concept. He flat-out ignored Acie Law IV and Marvin Williams in two separate incidents and put forth minimal effort throughout."Josh Smith is unquestionably immature. His immaturity sticks out because of his talent and potential. I have not seen evidence that Smith's immaturity is threatening to "torpedo their ascent." I have seen evidence that Mike Woodson is not going to allow Smith to behave immaturely without consequence. That was in the fourth quarter in Boston.