Look, I love Josh Smith as much as the next guy — in all his high-flying broodiness. But sometimes you just have to let go. The Atlanta Hawks have to let go.
It’s not that he doesn’t have the talent; he clearly does. It’s just the sheer fact he’s never tempered his shot selection, and he’s honestly never appeared all that invested. Although, that whole “tempering his shot selection” bit is one hell of an understatement too; it’s flat-out horrible. It’s to the point that the entirety of Philips Arena groans when he makes something outside of 15 feet because they know he’s about to start launching perimeter jumpers like they are going out of style.
Think I’m exaggerating? Guess again.
Per Hoop Data, Smith shot an egregious 37 percent from 26-33 feet on a career-high 6.3 attempts per game this season. As for why he didn’t just repeatedly drive to the basket, where he shot 68 percent at the rim? That’s a question we’ve been asking for nearly a decade now. All we do know is that it ultimately cost him an opportunity to the claim the Hawks as his own in lieu of Joe Johnson’s departure.
So now that we have a mutual understanding when it comes to all things Smith, it’s worth noting that this summer hosts a bevy of talent outside the only three names we hear related to the Hawks in Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Smith. Players such as Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson, Kevin Martin, J.R. Smith (P), Monta Ellis (P) and O.J. Mayo (P) are nearly set to hit the market.
I realize a frontcourt with Al Horford and Jefferson wouldn’t be quite as flashy as one that sports Howard, but that’s kind of Atlanta’s thing when it comes to sports, right? Understated excellence — or at least being an understated above-average team.