Josh Smith wants to be “the man”. He wanted to be a franchise player so badly in Atlanta that when he wasn’t given the superstar treatment in the hometown where he spent the first 27 years of his life, he began looking for a city that would. Smith believed he was worth a max contract, but in truth he’s stuck somewhere between Gerald Wallace and Shawn Marion and the offers never came flying in as expected. Those perceived slights may have also fogged up his thinking.
Instead of linking up with the Dwight Howard as the Rockets' new power forward via a sign-and-trade with Atlanta and contending for championships over the next four years, Smith opted for a rebuilding project and the comfortability of playing small forward alongside Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.
Smith’s addition also leaves the Pistons with a top-heavy lineup that will defend the lane and rebound with the league’s best, but don’t have a shred of shooting in their backcourt to open up the offense. The Pistons shooters couldn’t hit the ocean from a beach. Rookie marksman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is an unproven commodity, Rodney Stuckey is a 30% shooter from behind the arc and Brandon Knight fared slightly better as a 36% shooter from downtown. The Pistons lineup also forces coach Maurice Cheeks to insert Smith as a small forward where he’ll be more reliant on his shaky jumper.
As a spot-up shooter, Smith is one of the league’s worst, which is why the Hawks wasted no time signing a low-maintenance power forward to replace him.
Via Sporting News:
According to Synergy Sports, last year, only 13 players in the NBA had more than 300 possessions as spot-up shooters. Eight of those players averaged better than 1.0 point per possession in those situations. Of the five who didn’t—Metta World Peace, Chris Bosh, Luol Deng and Corey Brewer are in that group—Smith was by far the least productive. He averaged just .788 points per possession.
Overall, Smith is spectacular to watch, but he’s erratic, displays rash court decision-making skills, but now he’s been tasked with guiding the young Pistons into a future that they hope includes the playoffs. Good luck with that, Detroit.