Neil Paine over at Basketball Reference has some good information on Josh Smith’s improvement offensively in the 2009-2010 season. Per this blog entry, Josh Smith improved from being a player with a 103.5 offensive rating to a player with a 109.4 offensive rating simply by cutting down his three point shooting. Josh Smith shot 87 total three point shots in 2008-2009 and cut that to only 7 attempts in 2009-2010. That’s a remarkable decline in his shooting attempts and it was needed. As the article stated, Josh shoots roughly 9% lower on three point shots than the league average. He simply does not need to be out there.
Josh’s next step will be to take the next step offensively and cut out all the long two point jumpers he shoots. Josh shot 240 shots in the 16-23 feet range last season, almost 70 more than what he shot the previous season. He essentially traded three point shots for long two point shots, and with a 29% make rate on those shots, it is pretty clear that he still has more adustments to make. To his credit, Josh did set a career high on shots at the rim in 2009-2010 with 356, and he has hit between 65-70% of those shots during the past two years.
Josh has the ability to be a very good offensive player if he will accept what he is and play within his limitations. He’s tremendous around the basket though he isn’t a polished low post offensive player, and he is a very good passer from the post. Hopefully Larry Drew will be able to maximize Josh’s talents in the Hawks new offensive system. I really feel Josh could become an efficient scorer if he avoids the long jumpers and concentrates on getting his buckets around the basket. He could be an 18 and 10 guy if he just dedicates himself to becoming that.