First let me say that I don’t have a problem at all with Mike Woodson defending Josh Smith publicly. While I doubt that it actually goes on behind closed doors but if it does then we are at the heart of one of the biggest problems with this team. In case you missed it yesterday Michael Cunningham talked with Mike Woodson about Hall of Fame Coach and ESPN commentator Hubie Brown’s on air criticism of Josh Smith.
Here is Woodson’s reply to Brown’s comments:
“That is my job as coach to point that out to [Smith] and guys like that when they are doing that. And trust me, it don’t go unnoticed.”
Sure it doesn’t go unnoticed but it does in fact go unpunished, at least in games. The Hawks have been dealing with this erratic effort for six seasons now. Had Woodson taken a stand in any of them and perhaps it wouldn’t still be happening. Had Brown been the coach here, then there would have been consequences for Smith’s actions each and every time they occurred.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “I am too ahead of the game in my career now where I let little minor things affect me. I think I played a good game yesterday.”
A good game in my book is where you don’t leave your teammates on the other end of the floor trying to cover for you while you take your time getting up the court.
This is at least the second time this playoffs that it has happened that it has directly effected Josh’s play. I presented video evidence the last time. However, it is a common occurrence two or three times every game. Hawks fans that watch every game have just grown accustomed to putting up with it. Smith made great strides this season in his play. He all but scrapped the three point shot (even though it is starting to creep back in), and he improved nearly every facet of his game. Now it is time for him to improve the mental side. That is the next step he must take to bring his game to another level.
The question is whether or not Woodson is the coach to take him to that level or not.
There is an excellent write up on this same subject at Hoopinion.