Josh Smith should get a standing ovation

USA TODAY Sports

Whatever Josh Smith didn't do during his nine-year run in the ATL, the huge amount he did do should be celebrated.

Looks folks, it's over.

Josh Smith is in Detroit as a Piston. Danny Ferry did not re-sign Josh, nor does it look like he even entertained the thought.

Your fears of Josh hoisting ill-advised jump shots or hollering at the refs, or anything of the items that Josh was criticized for during his time as an Atlanta Hawk have been avoided. He's not a Hawk anymore.

So as Josh Smith returns to Atlanta Wednesday night, the reception that he should receive should be nothing short of an overwhelmingly warm hug from the city Josh spent his whole career, and lifetime loving.

Look at the the Atlanta Hawk career achievements:

Eighth in total Win Shares
Sixth in Total Points
Second in Total Blocks
Fourth in Total Rebounds
Fifth in Total Steals
Sixth in Total 3-pointers made
Fifth in Total Field Goals made
Fifth most games played
Eighth highest PER for any Atlanta Hawk over 300 games
Ninth best total rebounding %
Second highest defensive win shares
Tenth best defensive rating

The Atlanta Hawks, even with Joe Johnson, didn't step forward until Josh Smith matured to help lift the team back into the playoffs.

Smith, despite the well-known warts on his game, was a very efficient forward in his time in Atlanta, scoring over an 18 PER for his career and having two seasons over 21.0.

He was exciting, the reason Philips Arena was named "The Highlight Factory", and handled his business within the community and with those around the team with class.

For the entire peak run of Smith and the Hawks under Mike Woodson and Larry Drew, more was said about what Smith didn't do or was doing wrong, than about what he was bringing to the game.

Maybe because what he was doing was so visible and what was making him such an efficient player wasn't as such was a reason, but too often the curtain of what he could be draped over what he was, a very good player who loved being an Atlanta Hawk and gave his youth and peak years to the franchise.

I'm not here to tell Hawks fans that he was a perfect player, but I believe the time to nitpick is over. There's nothing to be angry about with Josh Smith, what wasn't liked about his game is now for Maurice Cheeks and the Pistons to manage.

What's left is a hometown kid who grew up listening to Steve Holman and watching the Atlanta Hawks coming back to the place where did a lot of good for our favorite franchise for nine seasons.

Nine years, 676 games, 334 wins, six straight playoff seasons, countless highlight plays.

For all the great high-lows to Al Horford.

For all the spectacular in-game dunks and finishes.

For all the help defense and shot-altering defense and blocked shots.

For the slam dunk contest win where he did an all-time Hawk thing by repping Dominique and doing the dang thing.

For all the years, all the effort, all the wins and being so very ATL.

He deserves a celebration.

He deserves a standing ovation.


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