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Happy Birthday, Josh Smith!

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Today is Josh Smith's 29th birthday! This is my present to him!

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Smith was born on December 5th, 1985 in College Park, Georgia. His parents are Pete and Paulette Smith. Smith has four siblings: Walter, Phebe, Kasola and Shanti.

Smith is quite athletic, which is why from a young age he's liked the game of basketball. He's produced his fair share of SportsCenter Top 10 dunks and blocks. He's been blessed to play with stars such Dwight Howard in AAU ball and Rajon Rondo at Oak Hill Academy. Prior to entering the NBA draft, Smith was touted by Rivals.com as the third best player in the nation. They also rated him as the best small forward in the nation. Doing what many youngsters used to do, Smith forewent college (he was committed to play for the Hoosiers) and entered the NBA straight out of high school. Being drafted in the same draft as his buddy Howard, Smith was taken 17th by his hometown Atlanta Hawks, where he'd play for 9 seasons.

I wish it was 11 seasons!

As was explained so well by Mike Payne, Josh Smith should have never been signed by the Pistons. Since that signing, Smith has only proven that more true than thought at the time. Last season was absolutely terrible for the Pistons and Smith had a hand in it. For the second straight year, the Pistons finished the year with a 29-53 record. He averaged 16 shots a game on his worst field goal percentage of his career, shot free throws at a second-worst career rate, and shot threes at a career-high rate while hitting them at a very horrible 26.4 percentage. It was the worst season of his career.

That was until this season. As bad as Smith was last season, he's that much worse this season. I wrote a piece the other day wondering if watching Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe dominate against the Celtics after Smith fouled out would lead to a change in the starting lineup. Left in those comments are some gems that I feel need to be shared again to show just how bad Smith's season has been:

Fun facts:

Josh Smith has taken more shots than Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, or Dirk Nowitzki, all of whom have scored at least 100 more points than Smith. He’s averaging one fewer shot attempt per 36 minutes than LeBron James, Chris Bosh, or James Harden, all of whom are averaging at least 8 more points per 36 than Smith. Josh Smith has a full -.2 edge on the lead for the worst offensive win shares in the league with his -1 (He’s nearly already matched his -1.4 from last year – and here we thought it couldn’t get any worse from last year. We’re so silly).

Since 1985 when Basketball Reference’s Player Game Finder starts, only four players have taken as many shots as Smith and scored so few points – and none have managed to be so incredibly shitty (or been given the opportunity by their coach to be so incredibly shitty) in only a 19 game stretch.


by Shinons* on Dec 4, 2014 | 11:36 AM
Another one:

Got to thinking. Well, of course no player in NBA history has had a more destructive first 19 games of the season – that query above basically confirmed that. But how close is second place?

So if you adjust the query to search a player’s first 19 games of the season, taking at least 279 shots, and scoring fewer than 260 points, turns out that Jim Jackson’s rookie year in 1992 was about as bad. Over his first 19 games for the Mavs, he took 286 shots and scored 259 points compared to Smith’s 279 shots for 251 points. So it’s been 22 years since the league has seen anything even nearly as awful as Josh Smith this year.

Dallas, by the way, went on to win 11 games that year.

by Shinons* on Dec 4, 2014 | 3:34 PM
I'd like to see the Wins Produced lineup for a full game soon



by Mike Payne on Dec 4, 2014 | 4:41 PM

Smith is shooting fewer shots than he did last year (two fewer threes!) and he is having a career year in assists, but those are really the only positives. Oh yeah, his rebounds are up, but that might have something to do with how poorly this team shoots ... or the fact that his offensive boards are up thanks to him missing many of his layups. He's second on the team in minutes only to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (this is because of injuries). He's first on the team in shots per game, a whole 2.2 more than Jennings. He's shooting at a career worst rate from anywhere on the floor: 37.3 field-goal percentage, 23.1 3-point percentage, and 47.4 free throw percentage. His steals, blocks and turnovers are all about average for him.

But let us dive into some of the deeper stats. Smith has always been touted as a great inside player. We've all told him he should stop shooting jumpers and stay by the basket. This year, even that hasn't mattered much. Prior to this year, Smith's lowest field goal percentage from within five feet was 58.4, and that was his second year. His highest was 70.3, and that was his last year in Atlanta. Last year, he was a decent 63.2 within five feet. This year ... a crazy 48.2. This is also where he's taken 39.4 percent of his shots. (Sadly though, Drummond is shooting just 53.3 percent from there, while Monroe is shooting 55.2.)

And please, I do not even want to talk about the defensive side of the ball. Smith can block shots (mostly help-side), and he's good at getting in the passing lanes and collecting steals. But other than that, he's horrible at team defense. Part of this isn't his fault as he has been played out of position, but it's not just against small forwards. I vividly remember a play against the Nets when all of the Pistons had got back on defense before the Nets could set up their offense. Drummond went to stick to his player, Plumlee, but Smith was already there. Smith decided that it was a good idea to tell Drummond to instead challenge Kevin Garnett, who had just received the ball at the top of the key. Garnett would make that shot (as he made many other shots that night).

Anyways, Josh, it is your birthday and I wanted to give you a present. I hope you enjoy!

Now your thoughts. What would you like to give him?