David Lee on All-Star team, Smoove (gladly) on the beach

Smoove will be chillaxing like this, except with no uniform and more sand. (dimemag.com)

Smoove will be chillaxing like this, except with no uniform and more sand. (dimemag.com)

Dallas– Ever since the All-Star reserves were announced and Smoove didn’t make it, it’s seemed everyone around him has been more outraged about it. Family, friends, fans, media–everyone seems to think Smoove got screwed, except for Smoove.

And it continued that way right up to the All-Star break. After the Hawks lost to the Heat  last night, someone asked Smoove if he hoped to be picked as the replacement for A. I., who it turns out won’t play for personal reasons. Commish Stern picked Knicks center David Lee to replace him.

“My flight is booked,” Smoove said, laughing. “I’m really not even thinking about that. I am thinking about sticking my feet in the sand.”

He’s headed to the Turks and Caicos Islands in the West Indies (”First time”). Looking at the snow storm outside my hotel room here in Dallas, I’m thinking Smoove made out in that exchange.

But, for real, he probably did deserve to make the All-Star team. In the one month I’ve covered the team, one thing that has stood out is how Smoove can change a game in so many ways. He’s developed what seems like an instinctive ability to know what play the Hawks need at what time and that’s really a wild statement when you think about it.

The development hasn’t happened by accident.

“I looked a a lot of film of myself over the summer and critiqued myself,” Smoove said, and he discovered he needed to make better decisions within the flow of the game. So it’s interesting to note how Woody later summed up Smoove’s improvement: “He’s making better basketball decisions.”

That’s a hard thing to quantify sometimes. So maybe Smoove was hurt in All-Star voting by coaches because his traditional boxscore stats are nice but don’t really blow you away. But when you look at advanced statistics and Smoove usually comes out ahead in comparison to his teammates and he also looks good when stacked up against the league’s best (also note that Lee is no slouch with those metrics, either).

In considering alternatives to Iso-Joe (and I know you spend a lot of time doing that) two of the best I can think of involve Smoove.

One is the pick-and-roll with Bibby–when the timing is right on it and Smoove gets the pass close enough to the rim that he doesn’t have to dribble too much there aren’t many weakside defenders who can challenge him. (The Hawks tried the P-R early last night but Bibby messed up the spacing and it was a turnover).

The other Iso-Joe alternative is posting Smoove up on the left block for that duck-in, swooping hook move. It can be unstoppable because he’s so long and athletic and he’s gotten really good at gaining separation from his defender with a subtle bump.

Alas, a worldwide television audience and a crowd expected to be upwards of 90,000 won’t get to see Smoove do his thang. But Smoove said he won’t be wishing he was here and probably won’t even watch the game on Sunday.

“I will probably be too busy just chilling,” he said.

MC

137 comments Add your comment

Astro Joe

February 11th, 2010
8:44 pm

Great attitude and maturity by Mr. Smith. It’s been interesting (and sometimes frustrating) to watch him develop. But he has been quite impressive this year, on and off the court.

Now, how about those free throws?

BONE

February 11th, 2010
8:45 pm

Good for smoove with all the injuries that All Star game is probably gonna suck

crabapplejoe

February 11th, 2010
9:04 pm

Please tell me I didn’t just read an entire article on a major newspapers website that referred to an athlete as “Smoove” throughout the article without using his real name…..geez. As to not being picked over David Lee its a no brainer…Lee leads “Smoove” in every statistical category and is having a knockout season for the Knicks.

Here*Not*There

February 11th, 2010
9:12 pm

We Love you Smoove Your an allstar!!

David Smith

February 11th, 2010
9:19 pm

Josh is one of my favorite players on the Hawks (Al Horford is the other) and, it’s a shame that he won’t be showcasing his aerial displays in Dallas this year. Josh just needs to continue working on his game (a consistent 15-18 foot jumper, continue improving his post game, and work on his ball handling)
while continuing to improve defensively to be considered for All Star consideration next year.

Hawk Str8Talk

February 11th, 2010
9:22 pm

Just had an interview with Rick Sund last night and he talked about Josh and Jamal and a few other things that might be of interest…
http://www.hawkstr8talk.com/2010/02/grizzlies-heat-chat-with-rick-sund.html

Michael Cunningham

February 11th, 2010
9:28 pm

Enter your comments here@crabapplejoe: man, you sure are crabby . . . oh, wait, nevermind. this isn’t the newspaper. this is a blog. we are informal around here. so chill. . .

as for Lee vs. Smoove stats, you have to look deeper. Lee: 768 FGA, Smoove: 591 FGA. Lee: 37 MPG, Smoove: 34 MPG. Lee gets more rebounds but his team has more rebounds to get (4.379 total vs. 4233 for Hawks). also, Lee plays at a relatively weak position in the East. and, of course, the Knicks suck and the Hawks don’t.

Lee is a good player and it’s no crime he made it but it’s certainly not a “no-brainer” for Lee to make the AS team over Smoove. just look at that link from the Knicks blogger, even he was surprised Smoove didn’t get a mention in the story. and, yes, i most certainly used “Smoove” repeatedly here because Smoove is a cool nickname but mostly just to mess with you because you don’t like me using Smoove.

Michael Cunningham

February 11th, 2010
9:35 pm

@Hawks Str8talk: good stuff re: Sund recap, but i don’t see a transcript am i missing something? me sometimes not think good.

Falcon Josh

February 11th, 2010
9:46 pm

I have been to the Turks & Caicos Islands. Josh Smith gets the better end of the deal!!!

Mike Jay

February 11th, 2010
9:50 pm

The third set of stats you linked to have Acie law ranked ahead of Smith. I’m pretty sure that means they are completely invalid :)

I will also say that I have really enjoyed watching him progress his game. We all cringed last year at all the bad jumpers beyond the arc. I certainly had doubts that he would be able to stop taking those. But damn if he didn’t and his overall game has taken a big step forward this season. I was talking the other day to my buddy about him and we both agree that he is the best passing big man in the game today. Now we are not NBA junkies, Just hawks fanatics but we were stumped to come up with a better one. he has made some jaw dropping, scratch your head passes this season.

crabapplejoe

February 11th, 2010
9:51 pm

Here’s reality:

David Lee: Games-51; MPG-37; FG%-.557; FT%-.798; PPG-20; Reb.-11.40

“Smoove”: Games-51; MPG-34; FG%-.511; FT%-.616; PPG-15.2; Reb.-8.50

I’m “looking deeper”….as deep as I can at these stats and I know who the All-Star reserve ought to be…and it ain’t “Smoove”. That’s OK because he’s going to the Turks and Caicos this weekend and I’m not….so its all good as they say.

Clyde

February 11th, 2010
10:12 pm

I talk bad about everyone in the Hawks organization except Jsmoove because I think he is the MVP of this team. Enjoy your vacation Smoove and continue to prove your haters wrong.

Astro Joe

February 11th, 2010
10:19 pm

Clyde, you forgot something.

Hateraide Anonymous

February 11th, 2010
10:42 pm

Hi, my name is Joe and I haven’t had a sip of Hateraide in 3 months. I owe it all to Smoove. I Appolonia for the things I’ve said in the past. He’s turned his game around. He might not be an all-star, but he make the Hawks tic and that’s all I care about.

Hateraide Anonymous

February 11th, 2010
10:42 pm

make that apologize…

Geemack

February 11th, 2010
10:51 pm

I love Smoove, but Lee should have made it before Al. So this is just David Stern doing what should have been done all along.

Melvin

February 11th, 2010
10:55 pm

Just when you thought you had seen it all. Lebron hits a clutch jumpshot with 1min remaining and Mo Williams (who is injured) runs on the court and put his sports jacket around Lebron to impersonate James Brown, while the godfather of soul music playing in the background. You gotta dislike the sportsmanship of the Cavs… First their pregame clowning now this junk. What a bunch of clowns.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 11th, 2010
11:14 pm

Nice to see Smoove taking it in stride. It’s our job to get outraged, rightfully, over his exclusion from the roster.

Judging from crabapplejoe’s previous comments on ajc blogs, he probably thinks anyone who didn’t vote for David Lee hates white people.

Geemack

February 11th, 2010
11:14 pm

Melvin

They having fun, and can’t nobody beat em.

duker

February 11th, 2010
11:16 pm

Hey crabapplejoe look at overall with steals blocks and ast also . do not cherry pick stats use them all Lee is a good player but smooth is a better alround player on a playoff team. but he still has a whinner rep but will get his in the long run

Najeh Davenpoop

February 11th, 2010
11:17 pm

I do agree, though, that Lee deserved to make it over Horford, even with his nonexistent defense and his team’s lack of success. In a way, Horford’s inclusion led to Smoove being excluded.

bigstack19

February 11th, 2010
11:17 pm

If he played for the Cavs, Celtics, or Magic he would be there.

Melvin

February 11th, 2010
11:18 pm

GeeMack,

If someone luckily beat them, I hope they will shake hands at the end of the game this year…

Najeh Davenpoop

February 11th, 2010
11:27 pm

Melvin, if they are going to knock Orlando down in the standings, they can clown all they want as far as I’m concerned. We can use all the Orlando losses we can get.

crabapplejoe

February 11th, 2010
11:30 pm

Davenpoop wrote: “I do agree, though, that Lee deserved to make it over Horford”

Dude, you are sincerely cracking me up tonight…so you agree with me that David Lee should have been on the All-Star team…but I am a racist for saying so and backing it up with statistics….I can skip Letterman tonight because my comedy quotient is full…LMAO.

crabapplejoe

February 11th, 2010
11:38 pm

@Ducker: The only stat category that “Smoove” have a distinct advantage is blocked shots (2.10 vs. .39)….so you would ignore all of the other stats and put “Smoove” on the All-Stars based on that stat?talk about “cherry picking”….LOL. P.S. does David Lee have a silly nickname we can call him by throughout the thread without mentioning his name?

Geemack

February 11th, 2010
11:38 pm

bigstack19

If he bumped his rebounds up to 11rpg he would make it

Najeh Davenpoop

February 11th, 2010
11:39 pm

crabapplejoe, do you go on David O’Brien’s blog and criticize him for referring to Larry Wayne Jones, Jr. as “Chipper”?

crabapplejoe

February 11th, 2010
11:47 pm

@davenpoop: Why on earth would I do that?…..makes no sense unless I was a Met fan like ten years ago.

Don!

February 12th, 2010
12:01 am

Smooth got the shaft. Now, David Lee’s having a fine season — FOR THE KNICKS! It’s easy to have great numbers when you’re playing in that system. Not to mention, about half of Lee’s stats come in garbage time.

Sigh. This is just David Stern sticking it to the Hawks again.

crabapplejoe

February 12th, 2010
12:20 am

@Don!….its “Smoove” not “Smooth”…stop using ebonics…btw if its easy to put up “great numbers” in a “system”….then why don’t the Hawks use the same ’system’?

Grandad

February 12th, 2010
12:24 am

1st things 1st:
MC, Call him Smoove all you want when you can use cool coach speak such as “duck in”. Sounds like you know your hoops.

Kudos to Josh for watching film and working to improve.

And to Woody: Uhh “he’s making better basketball decisions.”
6 yrs. – way to coach ‘im up Woody.

Note to Ken Strickland: Appears to be “Organic growth”.* *[Josh]

Gilley

February 12th, 2010
12:49 am

Its all good. J-Smoove.

TXDawg

February 12th, 2010
1:57 am

Yeah Michael, how about this snow!! It’s been coming down for 24 hours, non-stop. Anyway, I’m disappointed that Josh didn’t get the nod. I was holding out hope of wearing my old Hawk uni #5. Whatever the case, the streets should be manageable by Sat/Sun, so I’ll still be at the game supporting Joe and Al.

tjhook

February 12th, 2010
2:09 am

You mean Woody couldn’t get him to sit down and watch film before? Wow! . . . why are coaches getting paid again?
P.S. – And he couldn’t stop Josh from shooting the three-pointers? Woodson knows basketball but probrably does not know how to translate it – explaining why he can’t get ability out of young basketball players.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 12th, 2010
3:00 am

“Why on earth would I do that?…..makes no sense unless I was a Met fan like ten years ago.”

So then how exactly do you determine where to direct your righteous indignation at nicknames being used in newspaper columns?

“btw if its easy to put up “great numbers” in a “system”….then why don’t the Hawks use the same ’system’?”

Because it results in a sub-.500 record and a complete lack of defense.

Your overreliance on stats to determine who is a better basketball player indicates that you don’t know a whole lot about basketball, or team sports in general. Then again, this doesn’t surprise me, coming from someone who thinks anyone who criticizes Keith Brooking is a member of a vast anti-white conspiracy.

jtb

February 12th, 2010
3:10 am

I’m really proud of Smoove for how he has handled all of this and he seems to have been playing even better ball since his AS snubbing. Question though, why is it Smoove and not Smooth?

Clyde

February 12th, 2010
4:22 am

The Grapes of RATHbun

February 12th, 2010
4:57 am

I agree with whoever said it, J Smoove needs to hit his FTs

Required Reading | Hard Knox Sports

February 12th, 2010
7:51 am

[...] Josh Smith got jobbed. [AJC] [...]

O'Brien

February 12th, 2010
7:51 am

If Josh was able to watch tape and critique his game, and make better basketball decisions, I can’t help but wonder what took him so long? I would imagine Woody has been telling him these things for 5 years (or has he?).

That being said, I’m glad he has taken another step forward in his development. If he takes another step forward this offseason (whether thats bring his FT% to 75%, or improve his jumper, or cut down his TO), he will be almost unstoppable next year.

The way Cleveland has been playing (especially LeBron), they are looking like the best team in the NBA. I know LbJ would like to get Jamison from the Wizards, but I dont think thats going to happen, so I wont be surprised if they stand pat.

Now if you’re the Hawks, and you can’t get the 2 seed, do you aim for the 3 seed, or the 4 seed? Either way, you wouldnt have homecourt advantage. As the 3 seed, you’d play Orlando, and if you’re the 4th seed, you play Cleveland. So far this year, we’ve played Cleveland tough, and struggled against Orlando.

Coach D

February 12th, 2010
7:57 am

AWESOME music video/song done by Joe Smith.
Check it out on you tube.
Enter Hawks anthem Joe Beast. It’s good.

My 2 cents re: free throws: Yes, Smoove needs to hit a lot more, BUT if Georgia Tech hit as many as Smoove then they’d have won 2 or 3 more games at least….

Astro Joe

February 12th, 2010
8:12 am

OB, maturity takes it’s time. I do find myself annoyed that he took over 250 3s over a 3-year period with virtually no chance of making them or actually helping the team. But hey, “he was trying to make something happen” and so you can get away with all kind of boneheaded decisions as long as you are “trying to make something happen”. But that is water under the bridge… it’s like we traded bad Josh for good Josh. Great trade.

GeeMack

February 12th, 2010
8:13 am

O’Brien

Don’t matter the seeding. The Hawks must get to a point where they believe they can beat anyone, at anytime, and anywhere. That’s what eliite teams do.

Cle, LA, Orl, Bos, & Den has that talent and mind set. Even with the Celtics stuggles that still don’t believe the other top teams in the east can beat them in a 7 game series.

Truth

February 12th, 2010
8:18 am

crabapplejoe

Look at the stats when they play. That tells the whole story. Sorry Dude, No case.

DDawgDavis

February 12th, 2010
8:20 am

Couple of things:

I wish, key word: wish, the Hawks had the pieces to make one more move. I would love to see a Marcus Camby type C/5 on the roster. I know, I know it’s a dream, hence I prefaced my comment with wish. We just don’t have the pieces to move.

Last thing, Josh is my favorite Hawk, but can we get rid of the retarded “J-Smoove.” No apologies to the mentally challenged and no apologies to the real tards that call him J-Smoove. I prefer Josh “Smiff” presented by one Jalen Rose.

phar71

February 12th, 2010
8:26 am

I bet he has a monster game when they get back from the break. In a way I wish Joe was not an all-star so he could do the same, get away from it all and just chill.

Mike Jay

February 12th, 2010
8:26 am

Why didn;t he watch film before?

—He was imature and didn;t thenk he needed to. Now he does work his ass off in the offsesaon. He goes to some big mans camp with Kareem coaching iirc. He’s never been accused of NOT working hard to improve. However now he realizes what it takes to elevate his game to the elite status and he is tryng to do that. You give a 18 year old that kind of money and sometimes they can be a little thick in the skull. remeber he’s still just a ‘kid’ :) . Hisgame still ahs room to grow, which is scary.

niremetal

February 12th, 2010
8:37 am

Najeh,

It’s a misconception that D’Antoni’s system ignores defense. That’s true of Nellie, but not D’Antoni. D’Antoni’s system emphasizes pushing the ball and taking shots early in the clock, but in order to maximize that, it uses a high-pressure defense that is admittedly risky, but also is decently effective. Back in Phoenix, his teams never finished below 17th in defensive efficiency, and actually got as high as 11th. No one will argue that the team was elite defensively, but you can’t expect a team to be defensively elite with Amare at center and Nash at PG. D’Antoni’s teams have always done well defensively considering the personnel they have. He’s the most successful coach since Riley at running a fast-paced offense in part because he, unlike the Westheads, Moe’s, and Nelsons of the NBA, actually does emphasize the importance of defense.

Daniel

February 12th, 2010
8:38 am

Another example of how Josh Smith is growing in both his game and maturity. Way to take the whole thing in stride. I think he is starting to see the big picture issues. The rest of the league should be scared.

To Melvin: I agree with you 100% on the Cavs. Gee, yeah they are on a winning streak now, but listen did the Bulls, Lakers, Celtics, Spurs or Rockets ever act that way? No. And you know the difference. Those teams won championships.

Gee- you still my man.