There are a couple of different ways to look at Josh Smith's No. 34 ranking by Zach Lowe in The Point Forward top 100. On one hand he is ranked ahead of guys like Marc Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Andre Bogut, and Tyreke Evans. However, he is also ranked behind one of his own teammates which we will get to in just a bit. On Smith Lowe writes:
If you watch and re-watch, you see a guy who tries to get away with doing his work late – with waiting an extra split second to start his box out, assuming his athleticism can carry the day against the other guy fighting for the rebound. Sometimes there is no aggressive box-out. Sometimes he gets down in his defensive stance a second too late, so that a ball-handler on a pick-and-roll is already by him. He usually recovers, with a soaring rebound or a spectacular block, but this kind of stuff can be death against the best and hardest-working guys.
I have said before that you can't understand the local criticism's of Smith by just looking at the stat sheet. Smith's deficiencies are only visible if you watch this team on a nightly basis and you understand how his decision making comes into play in the final stages of a close game. Some nights it is great and other nights it isn't and it is as simple as that. While I feel like Lowe is showing Johnson a lot of respect (again we'll get to that later) I am not going to kill him for his assessment of Smith when often I have felt the same way. The Hawks might need to take the ball out of Johnson's hands more but do you really trust giving it to Smith on a nightly basis? I can't answer that with an emphatic yes.