Josh Smith gets a lot of hate on this site. I get it. He's an incredibly inefficient shooter. He is terribly unsuited for the SF position.
But let's face it. He just signed a 4-year, $54-million contract with us in July. He is probably the least likely Piston to be traded anytime soon besides Dre. Smith is going to be with this team for a while.
We see Smith chucking up nearly 5 threes a game and cringe. It's not his fault, though. It's the system he has been placed in, a system that practically invites him to shoot threes and long-twos. Josh Smith is a power forward who isn't being allowed to play his position.
Take a look at Smith's shot-chart in this Kirk Goldsberry article on Grantland. 63.2% from close to the basket! That's crazy good. Smith was more efficient close to the basket last year than "best PF ever" Tim Duncan and "franchise player" Dwight Howard. The problem isn't Josh Smith shooting, it's the shot selection he is getting in our system.
With that in mind, the problem isn't really Josh Smith, it's the player who is taking up his position under the basket, Greg Monroe.
Monroe is an above average PF. Absolutely. I can't argue that. But his presence is directly responsible for at least 3 Josh Smith three-point attempts a game (okay, I can't really back that up, but it is, trust me). We need to find a way to make this roster work or Monroe is the one who's going to end up on the trade block. I don't want to see him go, but he's the one who'll be traded, not Smith.
So, 300 words later, what does all this mean? It means we should jump off the "Let's all hate and trade Josh Smith" bandwagon and show him some love. Whether you like it or not, he's going to be with us for a long time.