Keith Langlois by the way of Twitter:
Watching #Pistons practice today, struck by how level of athleticism had spiked in 12 months. It just went up a few more notches.— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) July 6, 2013
which is a very realstic lineup, and you still have high-end athleticism to go with offensive punch. Lots of options for Mo Cheeks now.— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) July 6, 2013
Still see trades coming for Pistons. Vet presence on perimeter, shooting will be priorities now.— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) July 6, 2013
Andre Drummond via MLIVE:
"Knowing that we were going after him and he was interested, it's great that he wants to be part of our team, because he sees something that those other guys (free agents) didn't," Drummond said.
Pistons brass is prohibited from discussing Smith's impending signing until Wednesday, when the NBA's 10-day moratorium expires and teams can resume the business of formally signing and trading players.
But players operate under no such restrictions and Drummond said he and his teammates are overjoyed to add a high-caliber free agent.
"Josh Smith, we all know him," Drummond said. "He's a great player. He creates shots for himself and also his teammates. He's just a big guard."
"It's going to freak a lot of people out. They're not going to want to come in our lane with Moose (Greg Monroe), myself and him down in the paint." [...]
"With any team, when you bring in a big star like that, the expectations are going to be raised a lot higher and fans are going to expect a lot more," Drummond said. "Everybody's going to expect a lot more."
More from Drummond on the concerns of a crowded frontcourt via The Detroit News:
As for any concerns about how the three big men will fit offensively, Drummond isn't the least bit worried. Neither Drummond nor Monroe will be camping out near the 3-point line - although Smith tends to do it more than fans would prefer.
"Joe (Dumars) knows what he's doing," Drummond said. "We have a great coach in Mo Cheeks so he knows how to get the best out of everybody. I'm sure he'll find a way.
Brandon Knight via Detroit Free Press:
"Fans and outside people are going to say what they say," Knight said. "Believe what they believe and think we should get that person or that person.
"But me as a Pistons player, I have to focus on what we have and what we're doing here. I'm not concerned about who may come or who fans want or any of that stuff. It's all about the organization and who the Pistons have right now. You never know what's going to happen, but for us to improve, we have to work on what we know and that's who we have in this room right now."
Maybe Smith is exactly the player Dumars wants. Maybe Dumars and Maurice Cheeks have devised a defensive plan that makes Smith and Drummond cover for Monroe's deficiencies. Maybe they've assembled an offensive system that allows Smith's and Monroe's passing ability to compensate for the lack of perimeter shooting. Maybe they've mapped out a rotation that limits the number of minutes Monroe, Drummond and Smith will play together. Maybe Cheeks knows how to soothe the mercurial Smith. Maybe more moves are lined up to make this work.
Or maybe Smith was just there.
After Smith, who is the best remaining unrestricted free agent capable of playing a perimeter position? Andrei Kirilenko? Monta Ellis? For the Pistons, and especially Dumars, it was Smith or smithereens.
This move reeks of desperation.
Patrick Hayes, on whether Drummond-Monroe-Smith can work:
Situationally, yes, at least defensively. Smith defends well enough to guard small forwards effectively. Offensively will certainly be a question. Smith playing heavy minutes at the small forward could encourage him to do the one thing - shoot long 2s - that is the obvious weak spot in his game. One thing he will bring offensively is good passing - as J.M. Poulard pointed out on Twitter, a high-low game featuring Smith and Monroe as high-post passers will be intriguing. Smith will also get plenty of minutes up front. Monroe and Drummond aren't going to play 48 minutes each, so he could play next to Monroe or Drummond quite a bit as well.
Ultimately, this is the death knell for Dumars with the Pistons. Barring some unexpected trades that garner an elite, young wing player, this iteration of the Pistons is going to flounder under poor offensive spacing. Greg Monroe may be gone regardless as he tests the free agency waters next year looking for more money than the Pistons can offer. If not, trading him for an elite, young wing player may be best-case scenario. For now, the team is centered on an erratic, athletic player with locker room issues who in another situation would be deserving of the contract Dumars tossed out. Just not here.
Mike Prada, SB Nation, wherein he gives the Pistons a D (no minus):
People will probably scoff at the final number on Smith's contract, but I think he's worth that price. At the very least, it's the kind of deal one could reasonably expect him to get in this market, given the combination of his elite skills and his inconsistency. Nobody was going to sign Smith for any less than this.
Unfortunately, this is the wrong team for him to thrive.
The positives behind Smith's agreement with the Detroit Pistons can't be dismissed. Smith is finally out of Atlanta, and that alone could pay huge dividends for his new team. Coaches like Mike Woodson and Larry Drew weren't exactly breathing down his neck to tame his shot selection with the Hawks, but it still has to be nice to get away from the only team you've ever frustratingly known. How long this honeymoon lasts - 2013-14 could be a career year followed by a horror show in 2014-15 - is up in the air.
The negatives are obvious. Four years and $56 million for a player working through his prime seems fine for someone with Smith's statline, but Josh is about to become a full-time small forward -- at least for those moments before center Andre Drummond picks up his second foul and has to sit. His stats outside the restricted area (not just the paint, but the circle around the basket) were pitiful last year, and his long two-point shooting is not just annoying, it's a destructive influence on the outcome of the game.
He can defend his tail off and handled himself reasonably well over the years through All-Star snubs and endless trade rumors, and it's possible that his less active play (a lot more long jumpers, more passing to cutters) in 2012-13 was in reaction to the obvious Atlanta rebuilding that set in last summer. With Monroe's contract extension looming and the team's backcourt still unsettled, tossing nearly all the eggs in Smith's basket is worrying.
Bottom line: Josh Smith's talent is worth taking a risk on. That also means this is a risk.
But the Pistons decided it was time to stop sucking, and this moves them forward. He'll instantly be their best perimeter defender, and one of the most versatile players they have. If things work out, they could be tremendous (especially if they nab a point guard). If it doesn't, Detroit's back where it was in 2009 with an overloaded roster of contracts it'll have trouble moving. The Joe Dumars gambles continue.
When Smith was locked in defensively and stayed within himself offensively-driving to the basket, working to get to the paint-he was one of the East's top power forward.
But for some reason, Smith has always fancied himself a shooting guard, and he took an average of 2.6 3-pointers per game last year, despite making only 30.3 percent of them.
A telling exercise comes courtesy of Synergy Sports. Take all the NBA players who had 300 or more possessions as spot-up shooters last year, and you'll get a list of 13 names. Eight of those (Klay Thompson, Danny Green, Wesley Matthews, Carlos Delfino, Caron Butler, Ryan Anderson, J.R. Smith and Chandler Parsons) averaged better than 1.0 points per possession on those spot-up shots. Two (Metta World Peace and Chris Bosh) averaged 0.90 points per possession. Two more (Luol Deng and Corey Brewer) were at 0.85 points per possession or better.
Only one player jacked up that many spot-up shots and failed to reach the 0.80 mark. That would be Josh Smith, who averaged just 0.788 points per possession, by far the worst in the NBA.
Add on and discuss (respectfully) in the comments.