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SBNation Bay Area: With Josh Smith, all things are possible.

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Well, it's more of a love note than Josh has been getting recently from "the media". The writer, Avinash Kunnath hasn't been tortured by the same "best case Josh" and provides a refreshing palate cleanser on what might still be possible for the roller coaster that is Josh.

Consider the closing passage from Kunnath:

Talent is what can give players the glimmer of greatness. Talent and effort? That's what make players special. And games like Sunday's make you wonder if Smith is indeed capable of putting it all together and becoming that special type of talent that can wreck games with his ability. Only the next game will tell us, because as we know far too often, talent sustains. Effort comes from within. 

Find it again J-Smoove.


While I would love to begin to consider that maybe, maybe we might see this kind of game from Josh twice in the same series, the cynic in me doubts. Because we've seen the sublime and then been treated to the gory. It's the inconsistency that defines Smith as a player, as Kunnath notes earlier in the piece.

Smith seems to always struggle deciding what to do, because he is that talented. His body seems to be pulling his mind in millions of directions. Because he can do this, this, and this, he can't decide on what the right thing to do is when he's given the ball and asked to create.

And thus, all too many times, he pulls up for the jump shot, the only thing Josh Smith isn't very good at. And Phillips Arena groans like their child has to repeat the fifth grade. 


More like, "oh no, he's putting the lampshade on his head again".

He knows the good he ought to do and he himself can't describe the reasons why except to believe that he can make that shot. Can, rather than should. Therein always lies the problem. He can jump a passing lane and steal a ball, but it leaves the team 5 on 4 when he misses. Maybe he shouldn't.

Kunnath compares the wacky decision making of Smith to that of ....Charles Barkley.

Charles Barkley is perhaps the best example of talent meets effortless. He was a force of nature, particularly on the fast-break, when all he had to do was take the basketball, run like a bullet train down the court, and either lay off the ball to a teammate or dunk that ball inside. The Barkley fastbreak was one of the most unguardable moves in all of sports, something you just had to hope he'd flub.

However, Barkley was not very committed with his work ethic, and his game suffered. Too many times he'd make bad decisions in the half-court, would try to take the ball and create (with disastrous results), and just made poor defensive decisions. Compare him to the not-as-gifted but totally workmanlike Karl Malone, and it's clear why Malone became the best power forward of his generation. Malone did a few things, but he did them great. Barkley tried to do a lot of things and results varied.

Josh Smith is the example of this uberkind of athlete, the guy who got up and touched the Milky Way. His leaping ability is the type that makes everyone swoon with envy, because that vertical can give a ballclub so many valuable things--dunks, rebounds, blocks, highlights, the whole package.  But because of his multidimensional style of play, Smith is often tough to crack, particularly when the game is not going their way. Smith will try to block the unblockable, get out of position when trying to rebound, miss his dunks.


High praise and admonishment at the same time. I am pretty sure that Smith, without hesitation would take Barkley's career, but consider Chuck's ultimate results in terms of what was won. 

Go over and read the whole piece. It's worth it. And let's just hope that, if the Hawks ever do deal Smith, it's not for the equivalent of Jeff Hornacek, Tim Perry, and the Reverend Andrew Lang.

I'd rather Josh just figure it out.