Smith, who was the Hawks first round draft pick in 2004, has spent his entire NBA career with the team. So what is it that has made Smith ususable? Is it his drop in rebounds from 9.6 last season to 8.6 in the first half of this year? No. Is it is drop in points per game from 18.8 to 17.4. No, that is not the issue either.
The stat that has made Smith a liability is his .500 free-throw shooting (FT percent), which is a killer. Look at it this way. If the average FT percent in a league is .775, then his .500 would drag down your team average by over .020, and that is a lot to overcome in a competitive league. Or another way to look at this is you would need two players with a FT percentage over .900 to make up for Smith’s .500. In 2011, his FT percentage was .725 and in 2012 it was .630, both of which were manageable. So owners knew that they would have a little issue in this area. But the big drop this year was a nasty surprise.
So unless you have several players with a FT percentage of over .900 to compensate for Smith, you are probably going to either bench him or trade him. Just don’t expect to get full preseason value.
I’ll continue this week by looking at some other first-round flops this season. Next up will be Dwight Howard. Stay tuned.