Yes, Josh Smith is a bad 3-point shooter. Yes, he has been worse this year than in years past. Yes, he is playing out of position at small forward. We can dispense with all the usual preamble because the crux of the matter is this: Josh Smith is on a collision course with the wrong kind of history. He's on pace to turn in the worst 3-point shooting season in NBA history. The. Worst. Ever. In history. In all of NBA basketball that has ever been played.
Oh yeah, and he's also on pace to shoot more 3-pointers this season than he has in any year of his career. In fact, he's only about 12 games away from eclipsing his own career high at the pace he is chucking. While simultaneously setting a career low in 3-point percentage (min. 25 attempts).
Not depressed enough yet?
Smith is on pace to hoist more than 300 3-pointers this season. He's also converting at a 23.9 percent clip. Want to guess how many players in NBA history have attempted at least 300 3-pointers in a season? Go ahead, guess. I'll give you a hint, it's a lot! Did you guess? Good.
The answer, according to Basketball-Reference, is 667 players. Of those 667 players, do you want to know how many of them converted at less than a 30 percent success rate? Seventeen (17). Of those 17 do you know how many people have been worse than Smith is on pace to be? Zero. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Nil.
If this current pace holds, here is the ignominious company that Smith would sit atop, more futile than all comers!
|Josh Smith (proj)
But, wait a minute! Smith is supposed to play less small forward now that minutes are being staggered with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond! Heck, Monroe might even be shipped out of town to allow Smith to play his natural power forward position. That means less 3-pointers for Josh Smith, right?
Well, leaving aside the fact that Detroit Bad Boy's own candiangirlfriend amply demonstrated that position doesn't really affect Smith's shot profile, he'd still be among history's worst shooters.
Even if he only took 45 more 3-pointers the rest of the year and ended the year with 200 attempts, Smith would still be on track for the worst 3-point shooting percentage in NBA history. Heck, if he didn't take a single 3-pointer for the rest of the year, only two people would have a worse season than Smith -- the Denver Nuggets' Mike Evans in 1985-86 (22.2 percent) and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, who shot an unbelievable 162 threes in 1988-89 as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers and made only 35 of them (21.6 percent).
Speaking of Barkley, while Smith is likely to surpass him for worst 3-point shooting season EVER, Sir Charles might retain the crown of worst career 3-point shooter. Only 15 players in NBA history make 3-pointers at a sub-30-percent level and have at least 1,000 career attempts. Smith is a member of the club, but its president is Barkley, who leads the way with 2,020 career attempts while making 26.6 percent.
For Smith to catch Barkley he will, well, I guess he'll have to have three more seasons like his current one in Detroit. Depressingly possible. But he's probably more likely to cut down to his Atlanta levels of around 150 a year. That means he'll almost assuredly be in the top three worst 3-point shooters of all time joining Barkley and Ron Harper, who had 1,811 3-point attempts and converted at a rate of 28.9 percent.
Josh Smith is making the wrong kind of history in Detroit. And the team might double down on this by trading 23-year-old big man Greg Monroe. But look at the bright side -- only 3.5 years and 47.25 million to go! Nothing you can do about that.