Monday, November 09, 2009

Season-Long Theme: Josh Smith's Shot Selection

Previously: Rebounding

Josh Smith has yet to attempt a three-point shot this season. Not coincidentally, the career 46.9 eFG% shooter is shooting 57.3 eFG% through seven games. Smith hasn't completely renounced* the jump shot but in addition to re-purposing the 10% of his field goal attempts that occurred beyond the arc last season, he's reduced his two-point jump shot attempts from 36% to 28.8% of his total field goal attempts.

(For more on Smith's career shot distribution by distance refer to this post.)

His persistence in attacking the basket has been rewarded both by making 71.1% of his shots at or near the rim and in a career high assist of 5.1 per 36 minutes. Finding the open teammate is much easier when one or more defender must deign to guard you. Somewhat surprisingly, Smith isn't getting to the line any more often than he has the past. If he continues to make just 60.6% of his free throws, the Hawks won't complain about opponents not fouling him more often.

Of the 21 jump shots Smith has taken this year, one miss came on a failed drive to the basket (more good defense than bad intentions) and three have come after receiving a pass very late in the shot clock. One of his five made jump shots came courtesy of a bank shot. His intentions in that instance remain unknown but I feel it would be churlish to discredit the make in any way at this point in time.

On the subject of peer pressure, Smith has attempted 15 jump shots in four road games and 6 jump shots in three home games. I'm reluctant** to boo, personally, but years of hearing "No!" in Philips Arena every time he wound up the J may have, may have, served a positive function.

*Nor should he completely renounce it for practical, game theory reasons.

**To boo players, that is. The joy of lustily booing officials is one the lessons my grandmother taught me at a young age.


Bronnt said...

10 of Josh Smith's 21 jumpshots have come in the Hawks' two losses.

I don't think there's any Hawks player whose overall performance is more strongly correlated with how well the team is playing for any particular game than Josh Smith. It was true last year, and has held true through the first part of this year. I think this is partly because he's surrounded by a fairly consistent group, and he's the most wildly inconsistent of the bunch.

RivBoatGambler said...

Great Post

Anonymous said...

I think Smith sets the tone of the game early when he is active down low and driving to the basket rather than settling for jumpers. He usually draws early fouls agsinst the other teams' big men and slso gets in a groove offensively, which also leads to him being more agressive on defense.