Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 at 8:00 am  |  34 responses

Top 50: Josh Smith, no. 27

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Manny Maduakolam / @No_Ceiling2

What do you think are some of the worst things that can happen to a player in the NBA?

I’m pretty sure getting dunked on is in your top 3. It’s demoralizing to a man and sometimes destroys careers, just ask Shawn Bradley. Who doesn’t love watching a good dunk, juJosh Smithst like a homerun in MLB or a huge hit in the NFL? Getting dunked on is an amazing thing to witness.

When the NBA is in full swing, we can always count on ESPN Top 10 Plays to see some highlights that make you jump out your seat. Josh Smith is one of the players who is a common fixture in that Top 10.

There are NBA players who, when you have an opportunity to watch them play, you wouldn’t miss it for the world because, quite frankly, you don’t want to be the guy in the bar conversation who missed a game-winning dunk or the guy in the lunch room who didn’t see Josh Smith throw a Brandon Jennings shot off the backboard.

Who can ever forget the 2005 Slam Dunk Contest when Josh Smith caught an alley-oop and hit a windmill from outside the circle… over Kenyon Martin. Or even better, when he threw on the Dominique Wilkins jersey and hit the windmill from outside the box. I literally was speaking in tongues after I saw that dunk; the man has springs for legs.

Name some of the most electric players in the NBA right now. Of course, you hear the usual, but one man who you must count is Josh Smith. Athletic ability alone, there’s few in the League who even come close to this man; just ask Steve Nash, or Kendrick Perkins, or Primoz Brezec, and that’s just to name a few.

But what makes him different from the Desmond Masons and Fred Jones of the world is he actually can do a lot more than dunk (go figure, right?). The six-year, 6-9 240-pound Oak Hill alum has cemented himself as more than just a quality player in the NBA, but an all-around force in the League.

His running mate, Joe Johnson, gets all the attention and love out of Atlanta but it’s Josh Smith who makes that team go, and it’s Josh Smith who is the leader of that team, third on the team scoring, second in rebounding and assists, first in steals, first in shooting percentage. Smith played every game last season, and voted to the Second Team All-Defensive team.

This man is a complete and solid NBA player who performs when called upon and always takes the hardest defensive assignments, normally guarding defends players who are bigger than him (he’s a 6-9 “powerforward”).

The most surprising thing about Josh Smith is that he’s never been to an All-Star game yet in his career *cough cough* like he should have been last season. A player who has improved every year since being drafted 2004 and seventh overall by the Atlanta Hawks, all Josh Smith has done since being selected is get better.

He won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest during his rookie year in the 2005 by a land slide with some of the sickest dunks I have ever seen, displaying his superior athletic ability and creativity. But just being a “dunker” was not enough for Josh Smith, he went on to averaged 9.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.95 blocks per game for the ‘04–05 season and was selected to the Second Team All-Rookie team.

He continued his steady development as the years went by, improving in every facet of his game making him a complete and well-rounded basketball player. On February 2, 2010, against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Smith became the youngest player (at 24 years old) to block 1,000 shots, and he’s only improving.

He may even unseat back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard this upcoming season. It’s time for this man to get his just rewards and recognition, and I firmly believe NBA fans will take notice.

Player Team Position 2010 2009 2010 2009
Ray Allen Celtics SG 50 36 11 10
Gilbert Arenas Wizards SG 49 34 10 9
Lamar Odom Lakers PF 48 33 14 10
John Wall Wizards PG 47 NR 13 NR
OJ Mayo Grizzlies SG 46 46 9 12
Al Horford Hawks C 45 NR 6 NR
Jason Kidd Mavs PG 44 45 12 10
Joakim Noah Bulls C 43 NR 5 NR
LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers PF 42 39 13 12
David West Hornets PF 41 31 12 8
Monta Ellis Warriors SG 40 NR 8 NR
Andrew Bogut Bucks C 39 NR 4 NR
Yao Ming Rockets C 38 NR 3 NR
Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 37 NR 11 NR
Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 36 NR 11 NR
Stephen Curry Warriors PG 35 NR 10 NR
David Lee Warriors PF 34 NR 10 NR
Brook Lopez Nets C 33 NR 2 NR
Gerald Wallace Bobcats SF 32 NR 6 NR
Manu Ginobili Spurs SG 31 29 7 8
Tony Parker Spurs PG 30 15 9 3
Kevin Garnett Celtics PF 29 13 9 3
Rudy Gay Grizzlies SF 28 44 5 9
Josh Smith Hawks PF 27 40 8 13

• Rankings are based solely on projected ’10-11 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jeremy Bauman, Maurice Bobb, Erildas Budraitis, Sean Ceglinsky, Ben Collins, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Manny Maduakolam, Eddie Maisonet, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Charles Peach, Branden Peters, Quinn Peterson, David Schnur, Todd Spehr, Kyle Stack, Adam Sweeney, Dennis Tarwood, Tracy Weissenberg, Lang Whitaker, Eric Woodyard, and Nima Zarrabi.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com hoopistani

    Al Horford is better than Josh Smith

  • Ouse

    What does Al Horford do better, other than rebounding (which he should do, as a centre)?

  • Mitya

    Al has only one thing on J-Smoove, which is last season’s All Star selection, which was just wrong entertainment-wise, as well as game-wise.

  • http://www.slamonline.com spit hot fiyah

    “normally guarding defends players who are bigger than him”????

  • kas

    great write-up *cough cough*

  • arjae828

    ehh…not sure i agree with this one. don’t think he has an impressive game. Def more Javale McGee than Tim Duncan…i’m just sayin.

  • robel

    I DONT agree with most of the player rankings, especially with josh smith at 27!!

  • manz

    hmmmm nice stuff…josh smith is def the heart of the Hawks

  • JTaylor21

    What Javale McGee? Come on SON, JSmith is one of the BEST defensive players in the league, made numerous clutch plays last year and improved in every aspect of his game except shooting. Dude is one of those 4 tool players; score, pass, rebound, and defend. Speaking of the hawks, Luda must have had them in mind when he wrote that H*E song with their showing vs the Magics.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    I’m kind of surprised Jsmoov showed up so early..

  • The Fresh Prince of Nsam

    Agree with niQ. 1 of the 2 most important players in the ATL team last year in crunch time (the other 1 being Jamal). Just my humble opinion

  • http://www.twitter.com/notebooknick NotebookNick

    Al has a jumpshot from 15 feet that’s consistent? I agree that Smith is a better defender, though.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Josh Smith is better then Al Horford. The defensive gap between the two is pretty huge, Horford’s offensive advantage isn’t THAT pronounced.

  • http://www,myczechrepublic.com SAB

    good job Manny BUT i feel like this was written to someone who knows nothing about basketball… and i’m not sure that’s your target audience here… just a thought

  • j

    Wouldn’t have been shocked to see Smoove in the 20. I love Iggy, but I argue that much of his value is in man-to-man d, vs. team d, and that team d is a little more important. Smoove’s quickness and hops can lock down the paint in pick and roll and driving situations. Thats worth something on a team that plays defensive liabilities like Crawford and Bibby.


    i always find it odd and somewhat ridiculous when people compare players of diff. positions. but in overall efficiency, josh has got the upper hand no matter what other people say. hes one of those guys that youd always want for a championship contender, a guy who aint just flash but substance too

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Good place for Smith. Sounds like he’s STILL underrated by many. Don’t sleep on dude. One of the first things I always do when I get a new NBA 2K, after choosing my Bulls to play as in association mode, is trade Deng for Smith. Smith would be SICK on the Bulls, too bad it probably will never happen outside my virtual world. “Can’t eat sushi in Utah, brother….land-locked!”

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    Smith, I usually trade for him too. So deadly, in pik n roll. Back to reality, still insane hes second in dpoy voting, yet didnt make first team!!! Very good player, still getting better, will be very high on blocks list when its all done.

  • PlanetAsia14

    Still completely underrated. ATL stand up! Smoove can go against the best night in and night out… And remember this, Kobe and the Lakers wanted him a few years ago before ATL inked him an extension… Haters going to hate.

  • ai come back

    al hortforde had the potential to be better but he parently chooses not to and for josh smith to be on all nba defenseive team 2…….unbeleiveale

  • C-Mac

    Anyone else miss those yellow or red hawks jerseys from Smith’s rookie year? they were nice

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Damn, now I’m thinking about NBA 2k11… one more week!!!!!!!

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    I think he’s a little too high here. I’d take a lot of players that have been named over him. Would you really take Smith over a healthy Bogut at this point? I’m not so sure…

  • JTaylor21

    Enigmatic, good luck with that cuz no (reality or fantasy) GM would agree to Deng for Smith. You probably will turn-on trade override, so it’s all good.

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    nbk, youre wrong on this one, Horford is VERY GOOD defensivly, prolly better than Smoove..dont fall in love with the big blocks, Smith´s sleepin in some plays.

  • James

    Josh was drafted 17th overall in 04; Bargin they got j-chill 6th overall in 04;

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  • Furious

    This is probably the worst write up so far. No, definitely the worst write up so far. Painful to read.

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  • http://www.bunzl.com.au OZ Baller

    I want to see Josh Smith dunk on D12.