Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Breaking Down Josh Smith as a Small Forward

In this flip side to the Josh Smith, Jump Shooter? series, it's posited that though Jason Collins may not benefit entirely from (mostly) playing alongside Al Horford and Josh Smith, Josh Smith, as a defensive small forward, sure benefits from playing alongside Al Horford and Jason Collins.

Josh Smith on/off stats by position:

Josh SmithPossOffEffDefEffMargin
at 3772104.8100.3+4.5
at 42705108.9105.5+4.4
at 5138116.7102.9+13.8

Josh Smith just as a small forward:

Josh SmithPossOffEffDefEffMargin
w/ Horford & Collins512109.297.9+11.3
all other26096.1104.9-8.8

I've no explanation for the team's lesser offensive efficiency with Smith at the 3. He shoots a higher percentage (and slightly less often) at small forward than at power forward. I suspect (but cannot prove) that he's more likely to shoot at three-pointer as a small forward and that he's more likely to take/be goaded into taking a long two-point jumper when guarded by a power forward.

It's probably best not make any grand assumptions from such a small sample. At least not unless one's also ready to call for more time for Josh Smith at center (with the accompanying use of Marvin Williams or Damien Wilkins more often at power forward) based on that tiny sample of play.

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