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Hawksquawk

Hoopinion: Season-Long Theme: Josh Smith's Shot Selection

28 posts in this topic


Fueled by a suspicion that this will be a very good week* for Josh Smith, I thought it would be a good time to re-visit his shot selection.

*All-Star reserves are to be announced on an hour-long TNT pre-game show beginning at 7pm (EST) Thursday.

When last we looked at this, his three-point attempts had dropped from 10% of his total field goal attempts last season to 0% of his total field goal attempts this season and his two-point jump shots had dropped from 36% to 28.8% of his total field goal attempts.

Today, he's taken just 3 (two coming as a result of end of quarter heaves, the third coming with 18 seconds left and the Hawks down four in Detroit) three-point field goal attempts this season and his two-point jump shots now comprise 22.9% of his total field goal attempts.

That comes out to 2.7 jump shots per game which is at least 2 jump shots per game too many because Smith still can't make that shot. In fact, he's well below his (already low) career field goal percentage on two-point jumpers. He entered the season a 36.2% two-point jump shooter but has made only 27% of his two-point jumpers so far this season. Zero jump shots in a season isn't a reasonable (or necessary) expectation for him but there's absolutely no need for Smith to take 2.7 jump shots per game. That's at least twice a game he's choosing a(n approximate) 30% chance at two points over a chance to get himself a high percentage shot or draw a foul or make a good pass.

Despite the 114 long two-point jumpers that have produced little more than half a point per possession for his team, Smith is having a career year. He's not simply reduced his bad shot attempts. Rather, he's replaced many of his bad shot attempts with good shot attempts. The shots he's not taking on the perimeter have become shots he takes at the rim (where he's made well over 65% of his attempts for his career) while also drawing the bulk of the fouls that lead to his 5 free throw attempts per game.

Just as importantly, by largely occupying space on the floor where he must be guarded by at least one defender, Smith has used the improved passing lanes to take advantage of his court vision and passing ability and is on pace to set career highs in assists per minute (or game, or possession), assist rate, and a career low turnover rate. He's increased his offensive production without having to increase his usage rate. That's tremendously valuable.

He had an excellent first half of the season. His second half could be even better.


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What would be Smith's PER if he didn't take any jump shot?

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What would be Smith's PER if he didn't take any jump shot?

You'd have to know how Hollinger calculates it to know that...

But I still think Smith should be an All-Star. His ability to make contributions in all sorts of ways (blocks, rebounds, assists, steals, points) is impressive.

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I do know that his ORtg (pts/possession) has gone from 103 last year to 112 this year with minimal change in his usage. That's phenomenal.

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Here's how I look at it.

Joe, Rondo, Bosh, and Pierce are locks. That leaves 3 spots. One goes to a center and I'd say that Horford is actually the favorite (though probably just a 33% chance). That leaves 2 spots

I think Gerald Wallace is a lock. He has the same game as Josh but the Rebounding will cause voters go give it to him.

And then the last spot comes down to Josh Smith vs Derrick Rose. Both players are screwed because of Iverson- normally both could get it. Josh Started strong and then tapered- Rose started slow but has been killing it lately.

Personally I think that voters have short memories so Rose will probably get in, and coaches will more directly see that the fans voting for Iverson really screwed Rose.

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You know what hurts Josh more than his 2-3 missed jumpers per game? His horrible 60% free throw percentage.

I would love to see Josh work on his free throws more and never take any jumpers over 15-18 feet. Just like Al & Zaza do.

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Here's how I look at it.

Joe, Rondo, Bosh, and Pierce are locks. That leaves 3 spots. One goes to a center and I'd say that Horford is actually the favorite (though probably just a 33% chance). That leaves 2 spots

I think Gerald Wallace is a lock. He has the same game as Josh but the Rebounding will cause voters go give it to him.

And then the last spot comes down to Josh Smith vs Derrick Rose. Both players are screwed because of Iverson- normally both could get it. Josh Started strong and then tapered- Rose started slow but has been killing it lately.

Personally I think that voters have short memories so Rose will probably get in, and coaches will more directly see that the fans voting for Iverson really screwed Rose.

Lee will get in over Horford. Smoove should make it over Rose. Hawks have the 5th or 6th best record in the NBA. They deserve more than 1 all-star...especially if Boston is getting 3.

I don't have a problem with 2.7 jumpers per game. He doesn't take bad jumpers (early in the shot clock, contested). He's always wide open when he shoots the jumpers. Maybe he could get it down to 2 attempts per game but if he's wide open at 15-18 feet he should take the shot. I've seen games where he knocks down 3 out of 4 jumpers.

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You know what hurts Josh more than his 2-3 missed jumpers per game? His horrible 60% free throw percentage.

I would love to see Josh work on his free throws more and never take any jumpers over 15-18 feet. Just like Al & Zaza do.

Guess you haven't noticed but Smoove has been basically lights out (by his standards) from the line in the last few games. In the last 5 games he's 22-29 (75.8%). That includes 6-6 vs. OKC.

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I haven't seen every game but most of them and Josh hasn't taken too many 'bad' jumpers. A fair amount are end of the clock or wide open looks from 12 feet. In fact, the only really bad ones in recent memory actually went in. So I don't think the jumpers he is taking are mental lapses. Sometimes you just have to take it.

This is the beauty of what the Hawks are this season. They value each possession the way Lenny's teams did.

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I don't have a problem with 2.7 jumpers per game. He doesn't take bad jumpers (early in the shot clock, contested). He's always wide open when he shoots the jumpers. Maybe he could get it down to 2 attempts per game but if he's wide open at 15-18 feet he should take the shot. I've seen games where he knocks down 3 out of 4 jumpers.

Whether he is open or not isn't the issue. The clear fact is it goes in 27% of the time, which is equivalent to 3 pointers going in 18% of the time. Would you want him to shoot wide open 3 pointers at 18% rate? Those should be charged as turnovers in his stat line.

It is bad business, period.

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