The major justification for adding Josh Smith has been the hope that he "won't be the first option in Houston, so he won't need to take all these shots."
That may be true, but what happens if he remains Detroit Josh Smith, chucking up clunkers left and right and putting a stranglehold on the offense? One hopes McHale will bench him quickly and he won't cause problems. But him playing like that night after night is still a possibility. That's what he's been doing for more than a year.
1. How bad was Josh Smith in his time with you, and how much of that do you think was due to the fact that he was the first option?
Sean Corp: Smith was the absolute worst version of what Josh Smith could be. And what people don't realize is that he was not that much worse offensively in Detroit then his last couple years in Atlanta. It's not just 3s, it's jumpers in general. He has range from about 8 feet and in but has shot about 40 percent of his shots from 16 feet and out for the past several years. He's an adequate rebounder and solid passer who tries nearly impossible passes.
A lot of that has to do with putting everything on his shoulders, but he didn't seem interested in deferring to others in Detroit. But he is a guy who relies on his instincts for better and too often for worse, but presumably if he has great players around him his instinct will be to pass to the open man.
2. Tell us something good that he has done since he joined the Pistons. He can still play defense, right?
In Detroit his defense was atrocious, especially last year. A lot of that was due to him being asked to guard small forwards. He didn't have the athleticism to keep up and would always get distracted and drift into the paint. If the opposing team had a 3-point specialist it was a guarantee he was going to go off.
This year he has been better but not great. He's guarded the rim admirably but seemed pretty disengaged overall. A lot of that might be because he was stuck on one of the NBA's worst teams.
3. How much time did he and Andre Drummond play the 4-5 together? Do you feel like that could be a good barometer for his play with Dwight?
Andre and Smith played often together but rarely were involved in offensive sets together. The Pistons actually played better with Smith and Greg Monroe on the floor together. That being said, as long as Smith knows he's always the last option and his job is to finish at the rim when defenders react to Dwight and Harden, the Rockets will be in good shape. Think of optimal Smith as Brandan Wright in Dallas with some added passing. But only if Smith is willing to accept that role.
Time to earn that contract extension, coach.