Friday, May 6th, 2011 at 9:00 am  |  23 responses

Larry Drew Unhappy With Josh Smith’s Shot Selection

It’s the complaint Josh Smith has heard throughout his NBA career, that he settles for too many outside shots despite his considerable physical gifts around the hoop. And it’s propping up again, at the wrong time of the year. From the AJC: “[Larry] Drew said that he was ready to pull him after he turned the ball over twice and missed a 21-foot jump shot early in the third quarter of the Hawks’ Game 2 loss to the Chicago Bulls. However, Drew played a hunch and left him in. Over the final eight minutes, Smith had seven points, three rebounds and three blocks, helping the Hawks get out of the 14-point hole that he had helped get them in. ‘When he plays like that, that’s when we’re at our best,’ Drew said. It was the first part that led Drew to meet with Smith on Thursday morning before practice. Smith was 4-for-14. His four baskets all came from three feet and within, while he missed six shots from 13 feet and beyond. Drew said he thought Smith was trying to do too much. ‘I want him flying all over the place,’ Drew said. ‘I don’t want him sitting out there just shooting jump shots and trying to make plays off the dribble.’ They were Drew’s strongest comments about the shot selection of Smith, whose jump shots Drew has blessed as long as they came within the structure of the offense. Said Smith after Wednesday’s game, ‘It is just frustrating because I know I can give this team a little bit more on the offensive end.’”

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  • Riggs

    so is the rest of georgia

  • Myung

    Amazing how LD figures out Josh shouldn’t be shooting jumpers before Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals when he’s been on this staff (assistant and head coach) for years now. Took this long to become unhappy with it? If you asked the fan base, you would’ve made these statements a little earlier, coach. Like 7 years ago. Josh should give $1,000 to charity each time he shoots anything outside of 10 feet. The other Hawks players should give $1,000 to charity each time they pass it to Josh when he’s calling for the rock and he’s standing around the three point line. Josh has physical tools that other athletes drool over. He is an absolutely amazing athlete (top 3% in the League). If he just focused on playing defense, rebounding the ball, setting picks, and filling the lanes on fast breaks, he could still put up good numbers but most importantly, he could be a much more effective player. A guy who brings so much to the table (energy, excitement, emotion, blocks, dunks, rebounds) shouldn’t take so much off of it (turnovers, jumpers). I wish he would just play to his strengths. When your own home fans yell, “NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” every time you launch a jumper, you’d think it would eventually affect you. You’d think so. Josh is ever defiant. His jump shooting is a perfect NBA example of “When Keepin’ It Real Goes Wrong.”

  • Myung

    I’m a big critic of Josh’s, but I’m going to defend him for a second. Is it really his fault that he shoots all these jumpers? Coach, your expertise (as opposed to coach Woodson’s) was supposed to be offense. You were going to institute a “motion offense” this year. I’ve watched pretty much every Hawks game this year. I haven’t noticed a single different thing this year. None. I’m fairly certain that Coach Woodson, Coach Drew, me, my mailman, or my 19 month old daughter could coach our offense: “Here’s the ball. Put it in the hoop any way you know how, guys.” There’s still a lot of Iso-Joe. There’s a lot of Iso-Jamal. And the more talented bigs on our squad (Josh, Marvin, Al) do nothing but shoot shots outside of 17 feet (the 6’9″ Marvin Williams, the player picked ahead of Chris Paul and Deron williams, is our Steve Kerr, a glorified spot up three point shooter). Bibby (before being traded) was a spot up shooter. Hinrich (before he got hurt) was an occasional slasher who also mostly shot jumpers. So if you want to blame Josh for shooting shots he has no business shooting, then point the finger at yourself and your coaching staff for running the least innovative offense is the NBA, LD. While the NBA is ISO-heavy, I’m not sure any other team in the NBA is ISO-jumper-heavy. It’s your offense (or lack thereof). So yes, criticize #5. But be sure most of the blame goes not on him but to your own staff. Do you know why we were the #5 seed and beat Orlando in Round 1 and beat Chicago in Game 1? Because of three things: (1) Continuity: The heart of this squad has been together for 4 years now. That goes a long way in this League (2) Athleticism/Length (3) Our jump shots are falling. When #3 goes down the toilet (see Game 5 vs. ORL and Game 2 vs. CHI and about 30 games of the regular season), you pretty much give yourself ZERO chance of winning that particular game. I expect LD will be back next season. Please, for the sake of our sanity, hire an OFFENSIVE guru for your staff.

  • Bruno

    tell ‘em Myung

  • http://dsjkflf.com Jukai

    “No sh*t” the entire world did not necessarily add.

  • http://kobebeefnba.com LDR4

    Umm, what he said…

  • bashmo

    With that type of shot Form and Arc on the ball, his jumper will remain inconsistent.

  • Hussman25

    What’s new???? SMH!

  • JTaylor21

    You’ve been in the L for 7yrs now and still can’t make an open J. There’s something really wrong and disgraceful about that.

  • Myung

    (Sorry to write so much, guys… I’m just passionate about my favorite team) JTaylor, that’s true, but not entirely true. You wouldn’t be saying that about guys such as Shaq, Dwight Howard, or DeAndre Jordan. Not everyone in the NBA can make open jumpers, just like not everyone can block shots well or pass well. The difference is (1) those guys know not to shoot 3′s and long jumpers and (2) their teammates set them up with lobs and passes to the low post. The issue is, Josh still thinks he can shoot (when he can’t) and his teammates (particularly Bibby when he played here) seem to encourage it by giving him the rock in those spots. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but when I play pick up hoops (and I think any of you guys reading this who play basketball can speak to this) and we know there’s a guy on our team that cannot shoot but refuses to go inside and would rather float around the perimeter, none of us PASS to him. That’s kind of mean, and we’re basically playing 5 on 4, but it’s better than passing him the ball and having him shoot a shot that has no chance of going in. I feel like a true floor leader who’s not afraid of ruffling feathers (Chris Paul or Rajon Rondo) or a tough minded coach (a la Jerry Sloan or Pop) would pretty much dictate where players get to shoot from. Atlanta doesn’t have a strong voice from either the PG spot or head coach, thus you have a bunch of 6’10″ guys shooting jumpers (Josh isn’t the only big guilty of this… the difference being, Horford and Marvin can actually shoot). I’ve met Josh in person a few times. He is a super tall, even by NBA standards. He is a legit 6’10″. He’s essentially a center. So there’s the heart of the issue: a guy with center height with center shooting range, launching long jumpers.

  • JTaylor21

    Myung, I see where you’re coming from but dude is a SF in the mode of KD, Bron and Melo. All those guy are great jumpshooters, so JSmoove doesn’t have an excuse for still having a sh*tty jumpshot 7yrs in. Bron came into the L without a reliable J and he’s worked on it year after year to get where he is today. I just don’t think JSmith puts in the same amount of time in the offseason those guys do to improve their game. Maybe I’m wrong but it’s the same thing with Rondo.

  • add

    who isnt, he’s like iggy with the unreliable jumper

  • Myung

    I have heard that from some critics around town (that maybe he just doesn’t work on it enough). And you know, maybe there’s truth to that. But it can’t just be about mechanics and repetition, right? Some guys became good shooters by working on it (Vince, McDyess, Amar’e, Karl Malone, Shawn Kemp). But look at the example of Shaq and Dwight from the FT line. I know they’re busy filming commercials and movies, but I also firmly believe they’ve worked hard on their FT shooting. I think they want to get better at it so something tells me that similarly, Josh isn’t satisfied with being a bad shooter. I admit I criticize the kid a lot, but I also don’t think he’s so apathetic towards this game that has been so good to him (in terms of the life and fame it’s afforded him) that he wouldn’t work on his craft. Sometimes, you just don’t have it in you to be a good shooter, even if you work at it all day. And you might say he’s a SF in the mold of KD, etc, but those guys are basically guards in a forward’s body. Look at how well they dribble the ball, for instance. Josh is not only a bad shooter, but he is actually a terrible ball handler. He may be listed as a SF on the lineup sheet, but he certainly lacks a lot of the skill set that many of our League’s current superstar SF’s possess. He’s kind of a unique talent, but I think he compares more favorably to someone like a Marcus Camby.

  • JTaylor21

    You’re right on one thing; dude is a turrible ball-handler. I can understand the J being bad but mixing that with a bad handle is a recipe for failure.

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    I’m pretty happy with his shot selection myself.
    In all seriousness, Myung reminds me of me back when the Bulls had Tyrus Thomas.
    I was bout ready to pull my hair out watching dude shoot 3′s and long 2′s.

  • Myung

    Ah, that’s actually a great comparison, Rigo. Tyrus and Josh do have a lot of similarities in their games. Long, athletic, raw, and… I won’t re-hash the negatives because I’m weary of bashing Josh now.

  • Myung

    One more thing: it’s funny how people are all of a sudden coming down on Josh (I’m not even talking about on SLAM… but on various national platforms and even in this city, the biggest bandwagon fair weather sports town in America). I’ve been writing for years how I wish we would trade him, and I know a lot of people on SLAMonline said they’d love to have him on their team. I wonder if that’s still the case, now that they’ve seen the warts. People who aren’t Hawks fans or who don’t watch him play every game but instead who only see him during the occasional national television game (he probably appeared on national television maybe 1 time during his first 3 NBA seasons and barely at all in his 4th so our team being on TNT and ESPN is a fairly new thing for us) or who watch the YouTube clips and Sportscenter or who own him on their fantasy teams think he’s an absolute stud. And I can’t deny it: he’s a FUN guy to watch when he throws down the lob pass or blocks a shot into the crowd or puts up 5 blocks and 4 steals in his stat line. But if you just watch him actually PLAY the game of basketball, you begin to realize this guy takes as much off the table as he brings to it. You toss in his constant moaning and whining to the refs, and you’ve got the makings of a guy who’s really hard to root for. All this being said and in spite of my harsh assessment of him, I am very surprised by how the “Josh Smith has a low basketball IQ” and “Josh Smith should stop shooting jumpers” talk has intensified the past few days. We did, after all, make the 2nd Round of the Playoffs in 2009 and 2010 as well (meaning we were on national TV quite a bit during the past few postseasons). He’s been in the League for 7 years. This isn’t anything new. Imagine reading articles like, “Breaking news: Kobe shoots a lot” or “It’s been revealed that Greg Oden is injury prone.” I guess that’s how I feel right now when I hear the scrutiny about Josh’s game. I don’t disagree with it, per se, but I’m also amused and almost bothered by why it’s being mentioned in 2011 for seemingly the first time.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Zog

    If Josh Smith improves his jumper and doesn’t give up so many turnovers i say he would be one of the best forwards in the L. Same thing with Rondo Rondo would be unstoppable with a 21 footer in his game

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    You know, it’s funny. Being a Chicago fan, I had said for years that I would welcome a Josh Smith for Loul Deng trade.
    However, it’s funny what a season can change. While Smith is as explosive as they come and can get his blocks and steals, I now believe Deng is the superior defender and better player.
    Of course, it tooks Deng getting healthy and a coach like Thibs for Deng to turn into the stud he is now.
    Perhaps Josh just needs a better coach, or a change of scenery.

  • spit hot fiyah

    give this guy a book deal

  • jedi420

    Frustrating to see someone with so much talent not recognize how to utilize it properly.. If this guy got his ass under the hoop and around the key he should be averaging 10-12 rebounds per game.. no reason not too being 6’10, strong, and an amazing leaper. It’s all in the mind state and you can see he’s way more Rasheed Wallace than Kevin Love..

  • SF,Josh Smith, SF, Malcolm Thomas PF, Donatas Motiejunas PF Jordan HIll, C Hasheem Thabeet, C Zaza Pachulia

    Smith Lebron and Carmelo are all around 6’8 dont believe the WWE billing these guys get

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