11.18.2005

Go down stuntin'



Ordinarily I wouldn't devote 20,000 leagues of gargantuan prose to a player about whom I'm relatively indifferent, but the strange situation of Josh Smith and his Atlanta Hawks has got me all bunched up and distorted. I don't hate Smith the way I do Jason Richardson, and the still photos of him in action are among the most globular treats the Association has to offer these days. But, as I've detailed in other posts that I don't have time to hunt down right now, there's just something missing. As far as I'm concerned, he's as dull as his name until he sheds the shyness, bumpkin-ness, awkward and cowed youth, whatever it is that currently seems to infect and disjoint



(Preemptive: this is different from my problem with Wade. Wade's game is perfect, just not for me, and without the swagger more than a little inexplicable. Smith, though, has no such moments of pure fury that would justify pelvic oration; even the highlights seem tentative.)

But today I beseech not ye the reader, whose opinion of the mistakenly-hyped Smith I might hope to correct, but to the very organization he calls home: yon Atlanta Hawks, so lowly and beset upon that "laughingstock" would grant them far too much relevance. The thing is, that team's going nowhere with the quickness, the Joe Johnson experiment is not looking up, and they might as well just cut their losses and set their scouting on overdrive. Yet in this climate of absolute, indiscriminate misery, their most marketable, popular, and just plain known player can't get consistent burn. This isn't about how Atlanta, for all sorts of reasons I laid out here, should be able to at least be able to get behind an NBA team in principle. No, I'm just saying this: no one's going to watch you lose, but they might watch you lose with Josh Smith. It's for the best that this edition of the Byrd Gang be reduced to the realm of pure style. Congratulations, and don't hit the rim on the way up.

P.S. I put the dunk picture in here cause I'm in a rush, but it's the blocks that get me. Ten in one game from a swingman? Revolution has come!

8 Comments:

At 11/18/2005 9:54 AM, Blogger c-los said...

He doesnt get burn because he isn't good. I too am fascinated by his out of this world athleticism but just like you I can't stand to watch him. He can't shoot, pass, or dribble so you might as well just watch Sportscenter or nbatv highlights of him because that all he has in his game. He has no real position and is stuck on a team that already has Al Harrington, Marvin Williams, and Josh CHildress playing the same position. The good thing is that he is only 20 or 21 years old. The bad thing is that he plays for the Hawks who havent developed a young player since Nique. So for now I'll just stick to watching him on Sportscenter Top 10.

 
At 11/18/2005 11:15 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

that also kind of gets at it. josh can't really play in any definite way, and as a highlight machine he's oddly vacant. it's not that he lacks swagger (he does, though), but that his game itself, the very moves that, in wade's case, would give him the ultimate right to it, are lacking it. wade should be taking advantage of the status his game's earned him, smith isn't even in a position to do this yet

 
At 11/18/2005 11:17 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

and yeah, i did just edit the post to reflect this newfound clarity

 
At 11/18/2005 12:10 PM, Blogger Josh said...

With J-Smoove I think it's all just been happening too fast. His head understandably got swole after the dunk title and it's really stunted his growth. I live near Atlanta and I've watched about half of the Hawks' games so far this year on the tube, and Smith just looks sullen, too easily frustrated and dejected when he gets pulled or when things don't go his way. It seems like he's eternally impatient to run up and down the court, either throwing down dunks or swatting back shots in transition. In the half court he looks completely clueless, which is OK given his youth, but the troubling thing is that he really doesn't appear dedicated or motivated to improve. Mike Woodson wants the team to be defensive-minded, which might seem superficially silly with all their athletic talent, but it seems like the only way to really compete with a team this raw and inconsistent. Maybe J-Smoove will grow up once he realizes he's no longer the newest, hottest shit on the team, let alone the league (hello, Marvin Williams), but if he doesn't I can't really see him ever contributing anywhere but a place like Dallas where they play the up-and-down style he seems to crave, where Josh Smith could maybe be a Josh Howard-lite at best.

 
At 11/19/2005 2:16 PM, Anonymous luol dang said...

i can't really tell what this post is trying to say.

josh smith - there probably isn't a better example of all style with no substance in the entire league.

as for the josh howard-lite comparison - this is a real reach. howard has made himself known for everything that smith is not, namely hustle, basketball smarts, decisionmaking, etc. howard has made himself successful on the strength of his superior basketball instincts, whereas smith expects his athleticism (and nothing else) to carry his game.

the hawks should have drafted chris paul. i've been saying it since before the draft and i still stand by that assessment. i don't know why that's relevant to this conversation, but the idea of a running team with paul at the helm and johnson and smith running the wings seems a lot more appealing than a team loaded with young (and obviously green) swingmen. part of josh's problem, i think, is that he's stuck on a team that's a body without a head - maybe that's the point of this thread and i just didn't get it. i only read it once through and i'm not really too focused right now anyway ...

 
At 11/19/2005 2:28 PM, Anonymous luol dang said...

and while we're comparing the two players, let me just point out that josh howard, because of the qualities mentioned above, is infinitely more "stylish" than josh smith.

 
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