Sunday, September 07, 2008

Josh Smith Interview: "I'm Still Hungry."

Sekou Smith asks some questions of the team's best player.

I offer this first response as supporting evidence for my contention that Josh Smith is smarter than the only head coach he's ever played under.
Q. You and Al Horford did most of your work last year within the framework of the offense as opposed to anything schemed specifically for the two of you. Are you guys yearning for more designed opportunities that cater to your abilities on the offensive end?

A. I think so. We’re both good enough post players that we can make moves and cause double teams on the block. Al showed that last year and I showed that whenever I got a chance to get the ball in the post. I think we can have an inside out presence, even though we’re undersized, we can cause a lot of mismatches. And I think that helps our team out to have a more balanced attack.
Unfortunately I can also offer the following two responses as supporting evidence that my assumptions should always be treated as such.
Q. One of the biggest knocks of your games is you take a lot of 3-pointers, a lot of ill advised 3-pointers. But you obviously feel comfortable taking those shots. How confident are you in that part of your game now?

A. I feel comfortable. You saw me out here [today], taking and making 3-pointers and mid-range jump shots and they were going in. I feel more confident than I ever have in that part of my game. Listen, I know people are going to scrutinize my game even more now that I’ve got a new contract. They’re going to wonder if I’m all of a sudden satisfied and relaxed or am I going to keep getting better and maintain my hunger. I’m a competitor and I’m still hungry. I go in the gym and work hard every single day to work on my overall game. And you can see the improvement on the court. And all the people that knock me for the shots I take … it doesn’t mean anything to me.
You're a 26 percent three-point shooter, man, 26 percent. For your career. IN almost 400 attempts. Stop it. Shooting three-pointers may feel rebellious and cool but it's really just self-destructive.*

*Strictly in terms of being a basketball player. I do not believe that missing three-pointers, no matter how badly they're missed, how violently they carom off the side of the rim or the backboard itself will actually damage Josh Smith as a human being.
Q. Considering the additions and subtractions made since that Game 7 loss to Boston, is this team as good, better or worse going into training camp?

A. I think it’s a little better because the guys we added have been in the playoffs, been in situations and have been on winning teams. They’re veterans who know what it takes to win. Mo Evans played a huge role in Orlando last year. Flip Murray gives us another breakdown guard who can create off the dribble so Joe won’t have to dribble through three and four people at a time. Mo can knock down a consistent 3-point shot and gives us another offensive weapon to spread the floor. And they’re both good defenders. Randolph Morris is a big body that gives us some much needed depth inside and I think overall these are all good additions to our team.
I have no doubt Flip Murray will gladly pick up any dribbling-through-three-or-four people slack Joe Johnson might allow him.


the Internet nigger said...

Josh Smith is the best player on the Hawks team, right? Who says he can't drastically improve like he always does every summer and shoot jumpers at 45% and 3pt FGs at 34% ?
i know that u are josh smith supporter so i cannot doubt anything HE HIMSELF says, if he says, "im more confident than ever in that area of my game" than u got to give him a chance!

everyone is going to be suprised this season

08-09 hawks 47-35

Bret LaGree said...

Since he's a ~30% jump shooter and 26% three-point shooter for his career, I would be surprised if he improved to 45% and 34% (respectively) all of a sudden. Extremely pleasantly surprised, but still surprised.

Any improvement in Smith's jump shooting would be welcome, of course, but I think an increase in shot attempts in and around the basket plus the resultant extra free throw attempts has the benefit of being both immensely valuable (especially in the absence of he who never took a bad shot, Mr. Josh Childress) and more realistic.