Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Classical: Whitaker: The Josh Smith Question

Over at The Classical, Lang Whitaker muses on Josh Smith. Because the subject is Josh Smith, there's no definitive conclusion. I like this passage in particular:
I’m not the only one: NBA fans in general don’t seem to know what to make of Josh. Even though everyone knows long jumpers aren’t his forte, he still occasionally lofts them at the rim, eliciting loud criticisms from Hawks fans. (At least when those shots carom off.) Fans see Josh flash a sour face when a call goes against him or the Hawks, and don’t seem quite to get his perceived obstinacy. These are the two biggest criticisms regularly lodged against Smith, and though both are mostly outdated this point, Smith seems to still be paying for past mistakes.
What we have here is a profound difference in temperament and almost no difference of opinion. Lang likes Josh Smith and gives the two biggest criticisms* no more weight than the many, many productive things Smith does on the court. I like Josh Smith and fixate on the jump shots because they make little sense** in the context of the many, many productive things Smith does on the court.

*I'd agree that the latter is more outdated than not, but as to the former, Josh Smith is attempting 7.75 shot outside of 16 feet per game. Only Kobe Bryant, Monta Ellis, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Gerald Henderson take more long two-pointers per game than he does.

**Perhaps Smith is channeling his obstinacy away from officials and toward his shot selection?

Given the selective appeal of the Atlanta Hawks and the organization's fairly calcified approach to team construction, I think there tends to be a limited range of perspectives about the team. There's minimal appeal in having the same argument over and over again. Sometimes, the most direct path to original thought is merely someone approaching a familiar subject and reaching a familiar (non-)conclusion from a unique starting point.

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