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Josh Smith on pace for worst 3-point-shooting season in NBA history. So what?

A couple posts by Sean Corp of Detroit Bad Boys and backed by Kyle Wagner of Deadspin have been making the rounds. They allege Josh Smith is on pace for the worst 3-point shooting season in NBA history.

They’re right.

But it doesn’t matter.

At ProBasketballTalk, I explain why:

Even while on pace to set this record, Smith is producing about the same number of points per shot from at least 16 feet as he usually does

Smith’s 3-point percentage is a problem only insofar as there’s a column in the box score for 3-pointers and not for shots from at least 16 feet.

Look at that above graph again. The season Smith scored the fewest points per shot from beyond 16 feet, by far, was 2010 – the year he was celebrated for eliminating 3-pointers from his game. But he kept taking long 2s that year. It’s just that nobody noticed because they show up in the box score the same as dunks and layups.

Click through to see the mentioned graph – plus three more.

43 Comments

  • Jan 24, 20145:01 pm
    by Birdman84

    Reply

    I’ll give you credit for trying hard to find a silver lining. Smith is a terrible shooter from everywhere, so I guess it’s better he’s taking more threes than long two’s. It would be better if he shot a lot less, though. I think the criticisms are very valid.

  • Jan 24, 20145:47 pm
    by Corey

    Reply

    It matters because he still thinks he’s a good 3 point shooter (even a good shooter in general). Coming on a team that cannot afford wasted possessions, Smith and his ball chucking results in the reverse to what it’s intended to do, create floor spacing. Teams know he can’t shoot, so they pack the paint as if it didn’t matter. Being a person who feels that they are a great shooter, yet are on pace to have the worst 3 point percentage in NBA history spells disaster when he’s averaging like 4 a game.

  • Jan 24, 20146:43 pm
    by James

    Reply

    Agreed, and every team’s GM in the league knows that too. Having that knowledge in hand, who would accept a trade for him, AT 13 mil per……NO TEAM WILL. Dumars is stuck with him.

  • Jan 24, 20146:46 pm
    by James

    Reply

    Boston is keeping Rondo, and even if they don’t, they want to shed salary such as Bass, Green and Wallace. They certainly won’t take CV, Stuckey or anything we have. 

  • Jan 24, 20148:05 pm
    by brgulker

    Reply

    Smith is producing from the perimeter just like he usually does. That’s far from a great standard, but on a Pistons team that features Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe on the interior, someone needs to try to space the floor. Smith is a better perimeter shooter than those two.
     
    I think you have a major causation problem here. Josh Smith played basically this way for two season in Atlanta, and regardless of what position he plays on the floor for the Pistons. At PF for Detroit, next to either Monroe or Drummond, he’s essentially the same in terms of shot selection. 
     
    Furthermore, there’s no evidence whatsoever that Smith is spacing the floor. Watch how defenses react when he’s on the perimeter. They sag off, and sometimes, completely ignore him. 
     
    So in short, Smith’s shooting is a function of Smith, not his position, and the argument in favor of him shooting threes (spacing) isn’t actually happening. 

    • Jan 25, 20141:01 pm
      by frankie d

      Reply

      agreed.  
      teams actually want smith to shoot long jumpers, and it doesn’t matter if he shoots long twos or threes.
      that is why he is always open on the perimeter when jennings is looking for a late bailout option.
      that is part of the other team’s defensive game plan: leave smith open on the perimeter, bait him into taking that “open” shot, and sag off to try to grab the long rebounds that often happen because his shot so often clangs off the rim in such a hard way.
      he is not helping one bit by doing exactly what the defense wants him to do.
      a much better option would be for him to put the ball on the floor and drive.  while it is not a great option – he is not the best ballhandler and he would be driving into a packed lane – it is still a much better option than having him chuck jumpers.
      putting the ball on the floor and making the defense react almost always means that someone will be open for a pass.
      smith’s passing ability is the one talent that he could really exploit if he just had more BB IQ and discipline.  
      smith’s problem his entire career is that he wants to play as though he is mark aguirre, while he is really dennis rodman.  if he were happy and  content to play a rodman-like role – rebounding, playing defense, passing, taking high percentage shots at the rim – on a team, he could be a top 5 player in the league.  instead, his inability to recognize his strengths and weaknesses makes him a player who hurts his team as much as he helps it.
      i’ve always looked at him as one of the best arguments ever for players being required to go to college for a least a couple of years.  a good college coach  could have done wonders with smith, assuming smith would have been willing to listen as a talented 17 and 18 year old.

  • Jan 24, 20148:42 pm
    by James

    Reply

    Monroe is just in-watchable. Yuck

  • Jan 24, 20148:43 pm
    by James

    Reply

    UN-watchable rather.

    • Jan 25, 20142:37 pm
      by CZM

      Reply

      That’s what you got out of this article?

  • Jan 24, 20149:01 pm
    by James

    Reply

    Jennings can’t use his right hand?

  • Jan 24, 20149:05 pm
    by Seriouslynow

    Reply

    monroe is Jefferson 2.0 

  • Jan 24, 20149:46 pm
    by James

    Reply

    They will give this game away!

  • Jan 24, 20149:53 pm
    by jerrific

    Reply

    But Smith is a basketball player.  

  • Jan 24, 20149:56 pm
    by James

    Reply

    I can see why no-one offered him a contract except Detroit.

  • Jan 24, 20149:57 pm
    by James

    Reply

    And I can definitely see why Cheeks didn’t get another head coaching gig prior to Dumars(Gores) hiring him.

  • Jan 24, 20149:59 pm
    by James

    Reply

    LMAOFFFFFFFFFFF!

  • Jan 24, 201410:03 pm
    by jinzzy

    Reply

    the f*** , this is beyond funny , when can we trade monroe lol 

  • Jan 24, 201410:05 pm
    by microjfox

    Reply

    So, we are tanking? KCP 41 minutes.
     

  • Jan 24, 201410:18 pm
    by smitty

    Reply

    tank fest

  • Jan 24, 201410:40 pm
    by Steve K

    Reply

    Tanking or not, they’re unwatchable.
     
    And losing fans.

  • Jan 24, 201410:49 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    It’s official…the Pistons are now a circus. The players are all clowns, Cheeks is the freak show and Dumars is the ring master.

  • Jan 24, 201411:16 pm
    by kevin s.

    Reply

    Yeah, he has been terrible for quite some time. I don’t know why everyone is pretending this is about his having to play out of position. He just sucks. 

    • Jan 25, 201412:01 am
      by jg22

      Reply

      I agree. Monroe for Green would be better than nothing at this point, which is what we are getting from Monroe, since he can’t even play good enough to stay in the game more than 20 min.

  • Jan 24, 201411:22 pm
    by Adam

    Reply

    Great way to throw away a good performance from dre against monobrow no one will talk about his 20-20 game now only the fact that we suck 

  • Jan 24, 201411:43 pm
    by anacaniwelk

    Reply

    Where are the slew of articles discussing how Drummond is the worst free throw shooter in the history of the NBA????

    • Jan 24, 201411:53 pm
      by Smitty

      Reply

      3-6. he seems to be getting better.
       

      • Jan 25, 201412:03 am
        by jg22

        Reply

        I believe he’s 50% in january and 40% on the season. Even 40% is better than 37 last year. When you are 20, any improvement is good. If he can improve by 5% per season, he could be at 60% by his prime and at least be seviceable at the line.
         
        Helluva game tonight though for the big fella. Very pleased with his performance. They need smarter players/coachs around him tho

  • Jan 24, 201411:44 pm
    by B.Knight

    Reply

    damn, this team is so terrible to watch, i just new they would blow that lead. all those fans who drove there in this cold of weather and spent all that money have to feel like idiots right about now. this season is a waste. In the end the only positive that will come out of this is if we can get a top 5 pick… SEASON OFFICIALLY OVER, U ALL CAN SUCK IT!!!!!!!!!!  LMMFAO
     
     
    :0

  • Jan 25, 201412:06 am
    by jg22

    Reply

    What is with this Smith hate after tonights game? Was this leftover hate from last game? Because he played ok tonight. Not great, but not bad, and I don’t think he made any plays to cost the game or anything. I don’ get it. I think some just hate him so much they don’t even know why anymore LOL
     
    If you really want to hate someone from this game, Monroe was without a doubt the worst player tonight.

    • Jan 25, 201412:07 am
      by jg22

      Reply

      Thats no hating on Monroe. Thats just being honest. There’s a reason why he played so little tonight, it was because he was awful in the 1st half. He came back with a nice 3rd quarter, but overall he really hurt us in the 1st half.

      • Jan 25, 201412:20 am
        by Parsons

        Reply

        The blame for this individual game is irrelevant. I blame everyone for this collapse. All down the list. We suck and everyone seems content standing around doing absolutely nothing and wondering why we lose every game. Then fans, and players, blame individuals for why we lost this one particular game. You have to blame everyone and it’s not for this game but this season. We have no one playing with passion for 48 minutes and thats on the team and coaches. This season is just as bad as the Kuester year when we mutinied him. This might yet become interesting unfortunately more for Soap Opra fans that like drama not really basketball fans.

        • Jan 25, 20141:29 am
          by jg22

          Reply

          I agree. I wasn’t scapegoating Monroe. I was just pointing out that Smith shouldn’t be the scapegoat because he wasn’t the worse player tonight, Monroe was, but you are 100% that everyone in this organization is to blame for this season.
           
           

    • Jan 26, 201412:06 pm
      by bonerici

      Reply

      i hate josh smith because for dickity-million dollars he should be better than “ok”. 

  • Jan 25, 201412:12 am
    by gmehl

    Reply

    Stay classy you wanka!

  • Jan 25, 201412:20 am
    by Smitty

    Reply

    It’s going to be so hard to tank. It would be probably be easier to get to the 4th seed by trading for players that fit, than trying to lose out. It’s going to be like the South Park episode where the kids are trying to lose in little league so that they can have the rest of the summer off. HAHA this is getting messy.

  • Jan 25, 201412:24 am
    by B.Knight

    Reply

    Monroe is better than josh smith, that guy should be the 10th man on any decent team. He is garbage in every way imaginable. I thought he was one of the most athletic players in the league but it looks as if he lost all that also, FUC SHIT!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!  IM GOING DOWNTOWN TO JUMP OFF AN ABANDON SKY SCRAPER!!!!!!!!  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!  SPLAT!!!!!!!!!  BWHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!  LMMFAO
     
     
    :0

  • Jan 25, 201412:26 am
    by B.Knight

    Reply

    Jerbeko is a far better player than Smith, BENCH HIS ASS!!!!!!!

  • Jan 25, 20141:13 am
    by Alexf

    Reply

    I think the blame goes toward dumars, more then the coach , dumars is the idiot who thought this roster would work out , the coach is just stuck with a roster that doesn’t fit

  • Jan 25, 20141:34 am
    by Adam

    Reply

    Why didn’t we call a timeout ? Isn’t this basketball 101 down 2 with just over a second left 

  • Jan 25, 20141:39 am
    by Alexf

    Reply

    Idk, but I’m talking about the season in general not just this game, just that it always seems to blamed on the coach when the pistons do bad but I think they need to look at dumars instead , he made this mess of a team. Hell I rather start singler over smith, at least we know what we’re getting from singler , this team is just a mess and something needs to be done about that and dumars 

  • Jan 25, 20143:55 am
    by oats

    Reply

    @ Dan. In 2010 he took way fewer shots from 16′ on out than he is on pace for this year. It might be fewer points per shot, but it’s only 233 shot attempts (per NBA.com) in 2010, which happens to be 23% of his shot attempts. He’s already attempted 278 this year, which is 43% of his shot attempts . At this rate he will more than double the number of attempts from 16′ out even if he cuts way back, and being a little bit better in points per shot from that range doesn’t make that a good idea because he’s still awful in that range. A higher percentage of 3s versus long 2s is generally good, but when we’re still talking this many shots it doesn’t really matter for a guy like Smith. His range is at the basket, anything further than that and he is an inefficient scorer.
     
    You are right that pointing at 3 point shooting to explain Smith’s good season in 2010 is a bit misleading. He was effective because 61% of his shots were within 5′ of the basket during that season. So far this year he’s at 34% of his shots within 5′.

  • Jan 25, 20144:10 am
    by microjfox

    Reply

    This season is on Dumars, but this game is on Cheeks. Why is Brandon Jennings halfway down the paint with no help in sight. Force him to throw a pass for a three or make a risky pass near the basket. Smiths positioning was pathetic and he was way late comingto the ball. The two people I feel bad for on this team are Drummond and Jennings. Jennings because I’m sure he thought they had a chacne to not stink like the Bucks and he has improved dramatically in trying to be a pass first pg. His chemistry with Dre gets better every game and he looks for him first. If he can improve this much under Cheeks I’m sure he could do better with a competent coach and a team that wasn’t picked like one at a pick up game.

  • Jan 25, 20144:57 pm
    by bonerici

    Reply

    Dan I am looking at the chart right now.  His points per attempt range from around .5 to .9 average around .8 for 3′s and .7 for long 2′s.
     
    You have convinced me that not only is Josh Smith the worst 3 point shooter in the history of the NBA (or at least the worst since Charles Barkley), he is also the worst 2 point jump shooter in the history of the NBA. 
     
    Shooters got to shoot.  And Josh Smith has to believe he is the greatest jump shooter the world has ever seen.  It’s amazing self deception and would be hilarious if he were on another team.

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