Why Josh Smith Makes Sense for the Kings
Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith may be one of the most frustrating players in the NBA, and there’s a chance he may be a member of the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings and Pistons are in discussions about a trade that would send Smith to the Kings in a package that could include Jason Thompson and Derrick Williams. Other combinations could include Jason Terry or Carl Landry, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein.
Get ready for plenty off “jump-off-your-couch-moments” with the nine-year pro.
Smith is such an intriguing player because he’s supremely talented, but he’s also a player that leaves you throwing things at your TV.
Poor decisions? Check. Ill-advised three-pointers? Check. Air balls? Check.
Athleticism? Yes. High-flying dunks? Oh yes! Defense? YES! YES! YES!
One his better games last season came in Sacramento in November:
It’s certainly a risk considering he’s making $14 million per year but it’s a risk the small-market team like the Kings should and would make. The Kings are in desperate need of a rim protector, a player that could a defensive anchor next to DeMarcus Cousins, and a player who can push the tempo for the Kings.
Stop Shooting Threes
Josh Smith is not a good three-point shooter but he is addicted to attempting them. Basically, three-point shooting is Smith’s meth.
Smith’s career three-point shooting percentage is 27.9 percent. He took 152 three-balls in the 06-07 season, 99 in 07-08, 87 in 08-09 and then something magical happened.
Smith had an intervention, went to three-point shooting rehab and followed that up by taking SEVEN three-pointers in the 09-10 season. It was arguably his most productive season but he did not see the light.
Smith relapsed and shot 154 in the 10-11 season, 109 in 11-12, 201 in 12-13 and 265 three-pointers in his first year with the Pistons.
Is it possible that maybe, just maybe the Kings can convince Smith that he could be an all-star level player if he gave up the three-point shooting?
Could Malone get the best out of Smith?
Don’t underestimate that impact that second-year head coach Michael Malone has with his players. Cousins never liked his head coaches and after another 28-win season, he gave high praise to Malone.
“I’m with [Michael] Malone till the wheels fall off, he knows that. He has my back, I’ve got his. So you’ll be seeing me for a while until they get rid of me, it won’t be my choice,” Cousins said.
Malone has the ability to connect with players and build relationships, which is important in today’s era of sports.
Maybe Malone is the guy that can convince Smith that shooting three-pointers is probably a bad idea. Maybe Malone is the guy who can explain to Smith that being the anchor to the Kings defense could help propel the Kings back in the Western Conference playoff talk.
Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich talked about Malone’s ability to connect with players.
“He’s a people person. He’s somebody I felt players would really respect,” Popovich said.
“He had a toughness about him. A fairness, but a toughness about him where I thought he’d persevere in all kind of situations and in an NBA season there’s all kinds of ups and downs.”
Don’t get me wrong, Smith may never learn and the worst-case scenario is that he continues to play like the guy he was last year and you’re stuck with him for a few years.
The best case? Smith buys in, Cousins has a career-year, the Kings defense improves, Gay produces in a contract year and the team pushes for the 8th seed in the Western Conference.
I’m sick of 28 wins. Can it really get worse? Take the gamble.
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