Sometimes it takes a player a few years to find his niche in the league. Something he excels at, something that will keep him on a team. That’s why teams have defensive specialist or three point specialist. There are players that can affect the game in many ways but they always try to do something that’s not in their game.
One player in particular who is guilty of this is Josh Smith. This guy is a great athlete who should make a living running the floor, playing defense and rebounding. For some odd reason he steps behind the 3 point arc and lets it fly. It is usually a bad result whenever this happens.
Josh is a decent player. He should have been an All-Star a few times while playing in Atlanta. He can do a lot of different things on the basketball court. When he stays away from the 3 point line he is a much better. This is a guy who has never hit more than 75 threes in a season but has taken over 100 threes in six different seasons. Last season he took a career high 265 threes and made a career high 70; that’s 26%.
The red means below league average. As you can see he has a lot of red around that 3 point line. Everyone holds their breath when he steps to the 3 point line. The yellow inside the paint is comparable to league average and the green is above league average. So he's a decent shooter from the right baseline. Josh Smith belongs in the paint. He needs to give up on shooting 3 pointers if he wants to salvage his career. He’s been in the league 10 years already; he should know his game by now.
His best season might have been in the 2009-10 season. He played in 81 games and only took 7 three pointers. Seven 3s for the entire season is perfect. He only averaged 15 ppg but also had 8.7 rpg, 4.2 apg, 2.1 bpg and 1.6 spg. He did a little bit of everything that season and the Hawks won 53 games, the most since Josh joined the team.
There is a lot of red because he's not a shooter. As you can see in the 2013 shot chart above, he can knock down jumpers from the right baseline now. He was still at league average in the paint. However he took 700 shots in the paint during the 2009-10 season but only 565 this past season. At this point in his career he needs more shots closer to the basket.
Josh had a terrible season last year in his first season with the Pistons. He only shot 41% from the field and 26% from beyond the arc. He’s playing out of position because they have Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe in the paint. Josh is not a small forward in this league. His rebounding numbers were sure to go down because Drummond is there grabbing most of the rebounds.
The Pistons are talking with the Kings to move Josh Smith. I think he would be a great fit next to DeMarcus Cousins. A trio of DeMarcus Cousins, Josh Smith and Rudy Gay would be formidable in a tough Western Conference. Smith should leave the scoring to Gay and Cousins and focus on the defensive end and hustle points.
A new team might be best for Josh Smith since he’s playing out of position. He’s not a good fit with the Pistons. The Western Conference is tougher but he does have playoff experience to offer the Kings. Maybe he will benefit for being on a team where he will be the 3rd option. He needs to play that Shawn Marion role. He’s been in the game for 10 years and he’s 28 years old, he still has good years left; he just needs the right situation so he can excel.