At Least He Gets a Page
It's raining Josh Smith interviews; here's mine.
I trust that all of you are capable of expressing outrage at Iguodala's contract, and guessing that Smith's probably none too happy right now—especially since the Sixers briefly courted him, and around the league, he's held in higher esteem than Iggy. So instead, let's focus on the highly speculative theory that I probably should've just asked Smith about while I had him on the phone: With the Hawks semi-legitimate, it all of a sudden matters that he's from Atlanta. This is no longer a team that plays in a vacuum, deflects sentiment, and thwarts all attempts at civic appeal—which, with basketball in that city, was kind of a firework just waiting to ignite.
At least for now, it's a real basketball team, one that would be heartened to wake up and find a native son as their star of the future. Not that this virtual homecoming makes up for Iguodala's extra $2.5 million a year (plus incentives), but it's got to count for something. And it's not like Smith got to experience any of it during his rookie deal—at least not until the final year. Plus, with Randolph Morris on board, they're just a Dwight Howard away from resurrecting that feared AAU frontline the Recluse once saw playing at a tournament opposite the J.R. Smith Show. Again, that local history, meaningful roots thing that, while it can backfire, is also novel and empowering in the right hands. Weird—and probably frustrating for Smith—that it could all have lain fallow for so long.
Incidentally, Johnson/Horford/Smith is a solid nucleus in a way that the SF brigade of the past never was, which in some weird way makes Childress's departure a step toward credibility. Don't get me wrong, Childress could've started any number of places, but Smith and Horford should make for enough athletic defense and rebounding. A smooth shooter like Marvin should be by now does make a certain amount of sense, albeit in as conventional a way as possible. How funny indeed, that one of this site's patron saints now inhabits a promising line-up that has tried both apositionality (pre-Horford) and redundancy (late last year), and arrived where it is today.