Before coming to the Detroit Pistons, Josh Smith had driven Atlanta Hawks fans crazy with his bad shot selection. Upon signing with the Pistons this offseason, several fans and analysts alike wondered how he was going to fit into a Detroit offense that lacks outside shooting. The common thought was that Smith would need to become a better shooter in order to make this offense work.
While Smith can be a gifted offensive player, he has an unquenchable thirst for long jump shots. The problem with this undying thirst is the fact that Smith has an undeniably bad shooting percentage when taking said shots. However, the Detroit Pistons knew this when they signed Smith, and they certainly had a plan to resolve the situation. They didn’t sign him for $14 million per year to jack up bricks every chance he gets.
Instead of telling Smith to stop shooting his beloved jumpers, the Pistons’ coaching staff has worked on his floor placement to make sure he is launching his shots from behind the 3-point line. If he is going to miss the majority of the jumpers he takes, he might as well be getting an extra point when he gets them to drop through the net.
Last season, Smith shot a career-high 2.6 3-pointers per game, and entering Tuesday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors, he is taking over six threes per game.
While Detroit has been successful at getting Smith to step back before taking ill-advised jump shots, the strategy doesn’t appear to be paying off. He is shooting slightly above his career average from behind the 3-point line, but his normal field goal percentage is currently near a career-low.
When looking at the box scores, it becomes clear that the Pistons need Smith to either shoot the ball better or shoot the ball less. In Pistons’ wins, Smith has made nearly 56 percent of his shots. In losses, Smith is converting a paltry 38.2 percent of his attempts.
There are several reasons that could be causing Smith’s shooting issues in losses, but based on past performance, it appears the Pistons are encountering the same problem Atlanta had with his offensive repertoire. If Detroit wants to turn this ship around and start winning games sooner rather than later, they’re going to have to fix Smith’s shot, his shot selection or decrease his role – or all three.
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