Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Josh Smith: Jump Shooter?

Josh Smith is on a hot streak from the perimeter. As a long-time critic of Josh Smith attempting jump shots, I thought in only fair to update some previously published charts with current data that reflects Smith's possible improvement.

Josh Smith3PTA/FGA
2005-0911.2%
2009-100.7%
2010-1111.1%

Smith's hot start (4-10) from beyond the arc has lifted his career 3PTFG% to 26.8%.

Smith is also making a significantly higher percentage of his long two-point jump shots so far this season.

Josh SmitheFG% (16-23')
2006-0732.7
2007-0830.9
2008-0933.7
2009-1028.7
2010-1148.3

So he's both taking and making a greater percentage of his long jump shots so far this season.

Josh Smith%FGA (16+')eFG% (16+')
2006-0740.334.5
2007-0830.432.9
2008-0930.837.4
2009-1024.727.9
2010-1143.351.3

Despite the improved outside shooting, Josh Smith's scoring rate is down about five percent from last season and, despite a marked improvement at the free throw line (up to 67.7% from 61.8% last season), his True Shooting Percentage has only improved slightly, moving from 53.6% to 55.5%.

The reason? Smith isn't augmenting his devastating finishing at the rim with better results from the perimeter. He's shooting jump shots instead of scoring at the rim. Maintaining his own high standard, Smith's making a great rate of his field goal attempts at the rim this season, but he's not attempting enough shots there, a fact also evidenced by Smith's reduced Free Throw Rate (27.0 for his career entering the season, 23.3 so far in 2010-11).

Josh Smith%FGA (at rim)eFG% (at rim)
2006-074363.5
2007-0842.966.3
2008-094369
2009-1054.365.6
2010-113066.7

If, as Tim Povtak hypothesizes at FanHouse, Josh Smith's consistency is the key to Atlanta's success this season, the early returns are not promising. Despite improved shooting from the perimeter, the free throw line, and overall, Smith's shot distribution, should he maintain the early pattern of this young season, will not allow for consistency. Granted, if Smith truly has become a league average jump shooter, his shot distribution could easily change as defenses adjust. However, an improved jump shot will have little practical value for Smith or the Hawks if those shots (however more often they fall) simply replace higher-percentage shots.

5 comments:

Gerald Burris said...

It appears to me that the form on Smoove's jumper has improved, so maybe the increased accuracy isn't a mirage. Ultimately though, even if his shot has truly improved to average (for a PF, at least), he should still shoot it only enough to draw defenders out a step, and then attack, attack, attack. But since he loved shooting J's when they WEREN'T going on, I worry that he'll only do so more now that they are, and no matter what, he'll never shoot well enough for that to be his go-to on offense. He's too big and fast not to go at the less athletic bigs (which is to say, pretty much all of them) as often as he can.

Xavier said...

I'm wondering, is Smoove's scoring rate decreased due to the new offense? Is his total shot attempts per game decreased, increased or the same? And if Smoove continues to make 16+ foot jump shots at the same or near the percentage does that help the other Hawks players offensively by preventing the defense to sag off Smoove?

jrauch said...

His blocked shots aside, I don't see how LD can let him off the bench chucking up shots the way he's been playing the last few games.

Unless, of course, this is all part of what LD wants out of Smoove.

Bret LaGree said...

Xavier --

Josh Smith's scoring rate is down 5.1%, FGA are down 5.6%, and FTA are down 22.7% from last season.

Career-to-date, his scoring and usage rate peaked in 2007-08 and have declined slightly since then.

Jonathan said...

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