J-Smoove? More like J-Enigma

Josh Smith is a fantastic talent. Josh Smith is one the league’s most exciting players in the fast break. Josh Smith can fill stat sheets at astounding rates. Josh Smith can do a lot of great things on the basketball court.

With all of that said, you can also find Josh Smith’s name and face located in the latest edition of Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary under the word frustration.

I’m not sure if there’s a more puzzling talent in the Association than Smith. At 6-foot-9 and 225-pounds, Smith can run like a gazelle and jump out of the gym. Smith can use his length and quick feet to block shots from anywhere and pick pockets with the best of them. Smith can also handle the rock with ease for a player of his physical stature.

But, there’s an obvious chink in his armor and it has haunted his career from the start.

Josh Smith can’t shoot.

We all know it, we all watch it on a regular basis, yet Smith jacks up 15-20-25-footers like they’re free.

You know why?

Because they are free.

Teams across the league have taken advantage of the Detroit Pistons‘ experiment up front and have prayed on Smith’s inability to knock down shots. It’s obvious that Smith is playing out of position. Smith is an athletic power forward who belongs in the paint and everyone understands that. If Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe clog up the paint, someone has to play away from the basket, and that’s Smith. But the question is, why continue to take these shots if you obviously can’t make them?

That’s where all the head scratching ensues.

If you don’t believe me (unlikely) just check out his shot chart:

Photo courtesy of NBA.com/Stats

Photo courtesy of NBA.com/Stats

You would be hard pressed to find a shot chart uglier than this one. What’s just as troubling as all the nasty red that signifies a poor shooting percentage, is the frequency he takes these outside jumpers. There’s no way, small forward or not, Smith should be taking this many threes.

Smith needs to take a page out of Drummond’s book. There’s a reason Drummond leads the league in field-goal percentage (well, dunking everything helps), he doesn’t play outside of his limits. Drummond knows he has to work on his offensive game, so he attacks the glass and gets easy buckets around the rim. The flashiest thing Drummond will do on the offensive end is throw up a little baby hook off of an offensive rebound, that’s it.

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Smith needs to learn not to play outside of his limits and realize there’s a reason why he’s so wide-open. Don’t take the baited jumper and instead use your athletic prowess and put it on the deck and get to the rim. Smith is a creative offensive talent that needs to use his outstanding passing skills more often.

Maybe it’s a pride thing. Smith may feel like he needs to prove that he can knock down those outside jumpers to make the defense honest; who knows.

One thing is for certain though. Smith was paid a lot of money ($53 million to be exact) to be an intricate part of the Detroit Pistons for the next four seasons. A $53 million-dollar-man can’t continue to take stand alone jump shots and cash in at the measly rate Smith does.

It’s just blasphemous.



  • Joe

    I liked the article Cal. I was aware of his overall shooting percentages from the field and from three, but that shot chart is horrendous. Very good way to support your article.

  • Cal Sawyer

    It truly is cringe-worthy watching him play at times. Every time he’s left alone you want to scream through the television, “NOOO! That’s what they want you to do!” What’s also mind-boggling is the amount of long two’s he takes. It’s like he doesn’t know that’s the worst shot in basketball.