While the signing of Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith is making a buzz throughout the Detroit Pistons’ circles, caution has to cover a lot of the optimism of this signing onto one major concern: how will Smith fit in with the rest of the lineup?
The consensus is that he will fit in just fine, but this is where Maurice Cheeks will earn his money as the new coach. The trick is how to fit Smith into a lineup with center/forward Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. The talk has been putting him at small forward. The debate is whether he can produce at that spot.
Smith is talented enough to develop around any situation that is thrown at him. He averaged 18.5 points 8.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.8 blocks per game for the Hawks last NBA season. The Pistons could use those types of numbers again if they’re to contend for the playoffs.
He remains one of the better two-way players in the league and Cheeks is likely to find various ways to get every ounce of talent he has onto the court blending together as much as possible. Four years ago, Pistons general manager Joe Dumars brought in free agents Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva and neither could blend in effectively with the rest of the talent the Pistons had. It wasn’t necessarily their fault. They did not come into the right situation.
Smith is in the right situation. He can be a good influence and leader for the younger players while doing his own thing.