Both Mike Prada and Bill Simmons, in their rankings of NBA players last week, made a point to credit Josh Smith for his improved perimeter shooting. Which is a perfectly fair and accurate assessment in and of itself. However, much as Smith got credit for improved shot selection by putting up a near goose egg in the 3PTA column of last (regular) season's boxscores while the three long two-point jumpers (a worse shot) he took each game were ignored, it should not be overlooked that Smith's improved jump shot has not made him a better offensive player.
Smith has improved to a league-average shooter on long jump shots so far this season, but because he's taking so many jump shots (6 a game) his eFG% (50.3% so far this season) is essentially the same as he posted the past two seasons (50.8% and 50.5%). His TS% has improved slightly, because of his career-high FT% but, because of the extra time he's spending on the perimeter attempting uncontested jump shots, he's on pace for a career-low Free Throw Rate, undermining much of his improvement from the line.
Furthermore, spot-up shooter Josh Smith is on pace to set a career-low in Offensive Rebounding Rate, is earning fewer assists than he did last season, and turning the ball over more often.
His improvement as a jump shooter could make him a better basketball player. It has not done so yet.
Josh Smith continues to take and make three-point field goals at a far higher rate than his career norms:
Smith's hot season (40-115) from beyond the arc has lifted his career 3PTFG% to 28.2%.
Smith is also making a significantly higher percentage of his long two-point jump shots so far this season:
|Josh Smith||eFG% (16-23')|
The league average from 16-23 feet this season is 39.5% on 1.7 (per player) field goal attempts per game so Smith has clearly been an above average shooter from that range so far this season.
He's both taking and making a greater percentage of his long jump shots so far this season.
|Josh Smith||%FGA (16+')||eFG% (16+')|
Smith has continued to take a lower percentage of his shot attempts at the rim than in previous seasons. Some of that may be due to a data collection change at Hoopdata. Last season, 32.5% of shots in the NBA were categorized as at the rim. This season, 29.1% of shots in the NBA have been so categorized.
|Josh Smith||%FGA (at rim)||eFG% (at rim)|