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Josh Smith ranks No. 9 on Bill Simmons’ worst-contract list

Bill Simmons of Grantland ranked the NBA’s worst contracts, and Josh Smith placed No. 9:

Lessons from Detroit’s Josh signing include: Don’t put Josh and Brandon Jennings on the same team unless you’re trying to win a sulking contest; don’t put Josh with a new coach on a two-year contract; don’t play Josh at the 3; don’t assume you’ll be good defensively if you play two big guys with Josh; don’t sign Josh to a contract that doesn’t include a mandatory $10,000 fine every time he takes a 3; and don’t overpay someone whose departure from his previous team inspired fans to react as if you shot $100 bills out of a T-shirt cannon at them.

And after saying all of that … you know what? I spent 30 minutes on YouTube recently watching old Oak Hill highlights with Josh and best buddy Rajon Rondo while wondering if the Celtics should deal Jeff Green and Keith Bogans’s expiring deal for him. You know what frightens me? I think I’d be excited if this happened! My God, Josh Smith is my Atrocious GM Kryptonite!

Sign me up for that trade in a heartbeat. Heck, I I’d consider Josh Smith and Jonas Jerebko for Jeff Green and Gerald Wallace (No. 2 on Simmons’ list).

Smith is 28, and while I don’t believe he’s over the hill, players age faster than most people realize. Smith is likely past his athletic peak, and even if he might remain athletic enough for several more years, that’s a scary thought for a player who’s so reliant on his physical skills.

What are the odds Smith makes this worst contract list again next season? He could rebound, but if forced to choose, I’d bet on him taking a spot again.

As poignant as his Smith analysis was, Simmons really nailed this:

Of the 10 teams that kept their amnesties, reasons range from “Billy King saved our ass from using it” (Atlanta) to “we never needed the help” (Boston, San Antonio, Chicago) to “we wish some of our current guys were eligible” (Sacramento, New Orleans, Memphis) to “we’re generally confused and probably misunderstood how it worked” (Detroit) to “we’re too freaking cheap” (Utah, Oklahoma City).

I’m pretty that’s a joke, but offer a better a better explanation for why the Pistons didn’t amnesty Ben Gordon or Charlie Villanueva. You can’t.

OK, it’s probably “we’re too freaking cheap,” but even that explanation can’t totally be separated from the Pistons seeming confused.


  • Feb 20, 201411:08 am
    by Smitty


    I read that article. The 1st couple paragraphs, before he gets into the list he bashes Dumars pretty good.

    • Feb 20, 201412:49 pm
      by pablum


      Simmon’s is the Lester Bangs of Hoops’s writers (here’s a link to a classic Bang’s piece: http://josephwaldman.livejournal.com/43782.html (and no, I’m not “joseph waldman.”)
      Very few scribes out there that can humiliate Joe like Simmons (like the way Al Jefferson single-handedly humiliated and destroyed our team this season — in 2 days). (There’s also some guy who posts on Deadspin who is an accomplished Dumars’ destroyer.)
      So, what’s on old man on drugs got to say in defense of his great Piston warrior?
      Just this: Joe played with the greatest pure pg in history (certainly the greatest ball-handler as Magic has often attested, a 7-year old prodigy who made the cover of Reader’s Digest.). Joe obviously was a great guard himself. He had to have true heartache to make the decision to bail on Knight, given Knight’s incredible tenacity as a player. But it’s a gambling community reality that must have hit Joe: Brandon Knight was not the PG who was going to lead this team. The talent wasn’t there (not in enough time, anyway) for Dumars to wait on his Knight, so Joe gambled on Jenning’s, and his potential hit-the-lottery talent. My guess is 99% of GM’s make the same damn call, given Joe’s situation. And given the fact that this team, as I’ve now muttered repeatedly, still has no established SG in any way, shape or form — our greatest disaster — it seems ludicrous to bail on Jennings without at first pairing him with a capable SG, whom he can develop with, and give us a fucking back-court, which we have not had for the entire season.
      We can’t know how good Jenning’s will ultimately be until this happens. But we can know, we’re sure as hell not going to get anybody of Jenning’s caliber right now (for all the haters. etc., he put up back2back 20′s/6/7asst.).
      Simmon’s never mention’s “Door”# 3 in his brutal, lyrical, take down of Joe, and the “Doors” not taken. Door 3 is this: The 2013-14 Detroit Pistons are an NBA team — the only team?– without an NBA caliber SG. Joe takes the other Door Simmons says only an idiot would not have taken then add NBA PG to the list of what this 2013-14 Pistons team also doesn’t have.

      • Feb 21, 20149:34 am
        by Patti #1


        Drives me crazy that Smith and Jennings are lumped together all the time.  They were two independent signings.  Jennings does not get a financial share of Smith’s contract.
        This team has minimal talent at SF and SG positions.  That forces Jennings to play out of position with Bynum in the same way it forces him to rely on Smith to shoot when Smith is playing the SF position.  Smith chooses which shots to take.
        The team is out of whack, but it’s not the fault of the players that are trying to make the best of this situation.  This set up FORCES these players to play to their weaknesses instead of their strengths.  Condemn the players all you want on here, but if the coaching didn’t want Jennings to take those 3 pt shots he wouldn’t be.  If the paint wasn’t packed like a can of sardines, they would be able to convert more shot attempts, especially in the 4th.
        Jennings and Smith have their faults, but every player on this team (or on any team) has their faults.  The challenge is getting everyone to be the best they can be.

  • Feb 20, 201412:26 pm
    by Steve K


    As if it couldn’t get any worse as a Piston fan…
    When will the bleeding stop?

  • Feb 20, 201412:31 pm
    by Smitty


    Just read Pistons are shopping Smith but want assets in return. Why not just take what you get.

  • Feb 20, 201412:41 pm
    by apa8ren9


    Where do I start.  This is a very good article and entertaining.  Bad contracts have been around since the inception of contracts.  There will continue to be bad contracts.  There are 30 teams and the cap specifies a minimum/floor that you must spend, those are the rules.  There is not enough basketball talent and too many basketball dollars.
      Having said that Joe Dumars signed too many of those bad contracts and will pay for it with his job most likely at the end of the year.  Ive been a proponent/defender of Joe’s on these boards but its obvious that he is done.  (Im hoping for a miracle trade to save the Pistons) Its not likely anything will happen at the Deadline and we will just have to watch horrible, low IQ basketball for the rest of the year.  Everyone who is rooting for tanking, congratulations that is what we are doing.  Everyone who wants Joe D and everybody gone, congratulations that is what is going to happen barring said miracle.   Ill tune in again when Dumars’ replacement is announced and hopefully a fresh perspective can remove the stench that is eminating from the Palace.   I originally liked the Smith signing, but I was wrong.  Dead wrong and I dont like to be wrong.  I apologize to anyone I argued with about that.  You were right, he is low IQ, highly talented, idiot, knucklehead, paid basketball player.   Ill still be a Piston fan, but this is not fun at all.

    • Feb 20, 20142:50 pm
      by MIKEYDE248


      I’m in the same boat as you.  I kinda liked the Josh Smith signing at the time, but unfortunately I didn’t realize just how dumb (or maybe how uncoachable) he is.  If someone could finally get it through to him that he isn’t in the paint, don’t shoot the ball.
      I still think Jennings has hope.  I think he is a better player than Knight and with the right pieces around him, he could turn into a double-double a night player.

  • Feb 20, 20143:35 pm
    by Jacob


    Oh Simmons….6 months ago he was praising the Josh Smith signing: http://grantland.com/features/the-nba-midnight-run-part-2/ 
    Just scroll a little more than halfway down and you’ll find Simmons drooling over Josh Smith saying he’s the 8th best forward in the game (Not PF or SF but Forward). 
    So let’s just call Simmons’ analysis what it is: hindsight. Which everybody has…. 

    • Feb 20, 20143:44 pm
      by Jacob


      Alright just read the current piece a little closer and maybe I was a little unfair to Simmons. Just drives me crazy how some writers act like they would’ve made such a better decision than Dumars when it’s clear they wouldn’t have. And yes I did reply to myself. Multiple personalities…. 

      • Feb 20, 20143:52 pm
        by pablum


        What I miss? Some secret code of satire at work?

    • Feb 20, 20143:50 pm
      by pablum


      Great link! TX! The lists of “facts” alone makes me look like the most fair and balanced poster in these parts: Simmons on Josh Smith:
      Fact: For the past five years, he’s been the best or second-best player for a team that went 228-166 and made the playoffs every year.
      Fact: Since 2008, Josh Smith has won more playoff series (three) than Chris Paul (two).
      Fact: In the last four seasons, Josh Smith averaged 17.0 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 3.9 assists and 3.2 stocks (steals + blocks) while shooting 47.5 percent and missing just 12 games total.
      Fact: In nine years, Josh Smith never missed more than 13 games in one season, and he’s missed only 46 games total for his career. He’s durable as hell.
      Fact: If you made a “Best Forwards in Basketball” list right now, LeBron and Durant would go first and second, obviously, followed by Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and Dirk Nowitzki. If Kevin Love is healthy, I’d have him sixth, followed by Blake Griffin seventh.8 You know who’s eighth if you threw out salaries and just based this list on “What am I getting every night on both ends RIGHT NOW if I need a quality forward to play 36 minutes a night for me as my best or second-best player on a playoff team”? That’s right, Josh Smith. You’d take him over Serge Ibaka, Anthony Davis and everyone else except mayyyyyyyybe David West.

      • Feb 20, 20144:13 pm
        by Jacob


        No doubt man. Just goes to show that Simmons can bash Dumars all he wants in hindsight but if Simmons were the GM? We would be no better…..probably worse if you can imagine that…. 

        • Feb 21, 20149:08 am
          by Patti #1


          Nicely done, Jacob.  That was Simmons attempt at humor, but I found it to be a piece of trash.  

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