Sunday, September 13, 2009

Josh Smith Says Some of the Right Things

Sekou Smith quotes Josh Smith:
"I wanted to work more on my decision-making than anything. I handle the ball so much on the fast break and in transition that I wanted to make sure I’m thinking the game the way I need to be. I also worked on my handles and knocking down that mid-range jumper. I’m really not worried about the 3-point ball right now. We have so many guys on this team that can make that shot.

I don’t have any business being out there this season with Joe Johnson, Mike Bibby, Jamal Crawford, Marvin, Mo and [Jeff] Teague all doing work out there. I have to focus on working in the cracks and making sure that people respect my mid-range game. And if they don’t, we have to make them pay for not respecting it."
Like most of us, Josh Smith could improve his decision-making. Like most of us, Smith has no business attempting three-point shots in NBA games. Good on him recognizing those limitations.

This business about making teams respect his mid-range game gives me pause. Smith's ill-advised three-point jumpers (87, making 29.9%) were not nearly as damaging to the Hawks as his ill-advised two-point jumpers (306, making 32.2%). Josh Smith has no business attempting jump shots, full stop.

In the abstract, I've no absolute objection to Smith developing a mid-range game but he's the starting power forward on a team without an impressive post presence and he made less than 59% of his free throws last season. The mid-range game should be well down the list of his priorities and my suspicion is that people will continue to disrespect Smith's mid-range game and only the Hawks will pay for that disrespect.


thirdfalcon said...

leave it to the Hawks blogosphere to turn something as good as Josh declaring that he will stop taking three point shots, and turn it into a negative. If Josh ever can achieve what must I think is clearly his goal of being a good shooter, than I think he will have more success if he focuses on closer shots first.

If your right and all this means is that he is going to start shooting from 20 feet instead of 23, than your right and this will be a net loss for us. If it means he is going to take alot of shots from 15 feet in, than I see no reason why he can't improve this area of his game, and help the team more in the process. There have been players who have done this before.

But, I really don't think it's realistic to expect Josh to develop a fearsome post up game. To me this seems like a case of what people want a player to be not meshing with who said player actually is.

Bret LaGree said...

The three-point attempts are a red herring--easily noticed but relatively rarely appearing and well down the list of self-destructive things Josh Smith does on the court.

So, yes, I would have preferred it had he identified free throw shooting or offensive rebounding or developing his post game or improving his lateral movement to become a better on-the-ball defender rather than his mid-range game as the part of his game in need of the most work this summer.