Sunday, November 18, 2007

Welcome Back, Mr. Smith (or, Please, Please Stop Shooting Jump Shots)

Bucks 105 Hawks 96



Even in the midst of one of the outstanding offensive performances of his career, one in which he got to the rim and the free throw line at will, Josh Smith couldn't resist the three-point line's siren song. His three-point miss in the middle of a possession in the final minute that produced three missed jump shots in total and left the Bucks' five-point lead undiminished demonstrated such a lack of self-knowledge that the entire enterprise seemed futile.

With Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, and Al Horford each showing the after-effects of playing long minutes late into Friday night (52:19, 44:04, and 53:01 respectively), Smith carried the Hawks, scoring 23 second-half points and providing most of what little defensive resistance Milwaukee encountered. Smith played a great game despite his continuing insistence on shooting unnecessary, almost invariably unsuccessful jump shots.

He's 3-18 (16.7%) from beyond the three-point line this year. A career 26.1% shooter from beyond the arc, he is attempting more than 2 three-pointers a game just as he did throughout last year despite making just 25% of his attempts. When attacking the basket, Josh Smith utilizes all of his skills to score, draw fouls, and find open teammates for easy scoring chances of their own. When shooting jump shots he uses none of his skills and only creates opportunities for his teammates in the form of potential offensive rebounds.

No matter how frustrating I find his inexplicable moments, Josh Smith did not lose the game. Injuries, poor defense, and worse roster construction lost the game. Of those, the first is presumably fixable. The second won't possibly be fixed until Mike Woodson can consistently put five healthy players on the court. The third, I fear, we're stuck with for the duration of the season and will see many more good efforts by the few talented, healthy Hawks players available on any given night result in nothing more than frustrating defeats.

Ballhype: hype it up!


Pooh said...

Marvin had no legs, you could tell on his J.

100% agree about Smith and the J. That said, he should be a better shooter than he is, as his form is pretty solid...

Bret LaGree said...

Agreed, if there was an obvious mechanical flaw in his stroke I'd be more willing to believe he could improve. As it is, I just think he should deemphasize the one thing he does poorly.