by Tracy Weissenberg / @basketballista
Based on my own experiences, and I suspect those of many others, the timetable that we have for ourselves doesn’t always match the timetable life has for us. For Josh Smith, who has achieved so much in his nine-year career, that goal is to become an All-Star. So far, he’s had to wait for a roster spot in a game he has deserved to play in.
In the past, Smith had publicly doubted his chances of ever getting an All-Star bid. I asked him if he still thinks it’s possible, that for whatever reason, it just hadn’t been the right time?
“I guess so,” he said, “There’s definitely a pecking order. I’m very patient. Like I’ve said before, as long as I’m successful and the team is successful, I’m really not worried about any individual accolades because I know that’ll come.”
And if he did made the All-Star game, what would change? The perception fans have? Coaches? GMs? The perception he has of his own accomplishments? If the answer is that nothing would change, it’s because he already has everyone’s respect.
But fans should get a chance to celebrate one of the League’s most dynamic talents—a forward with the skill set of every position, who can electrify the crowd and change the momentum with a single play on either end of the floor. In today’s current landscape, it is rare to see a 6-8 player with his ability to dominate the paint on both ends. He is a huge reason Atlanta has risen from a lottery team to a perennial Playoff lock during his tenure.
Speaking of Atlanta, Smith, the only player still on the Hawks since he was drafted in 2004, will soon decide if he plans to continue with the only NBA team he has played for. On the mindset regarding his contract situation, Smith says he is “just worried about what we have going on as team, and everything else will take care of itself.” Smith has been consistent in using his strong play as the best form of negotiation.
Back to timetables, I have a feeling he will represent the East—sooner rather than later—and it will be the first of many appearances. After seeing him play in a game so perfectly suited for his talents, maybe this time it will be the fans, instead of Smith, wondering why they had waited so long.