Atlanta Hawks: On Magic Tricks and Josh’s Jumpers

Nice write-up by Ken S. today on the Hawks’ issues stopping Dwight Howard and the Magic. Also a compelling counterpoint at Hoopinion (thanks to commenter GMAN013 for pointing it out) stating that the Hawks’ problems against the Magic have “less to do with defensive game plans than Atlanta’s complete and utter inability to score against the Magic.”

Josh Smith shooting from where he's most effective. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

Josh Smith shooting from where he's most effective. (Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

But instead of adding my two cents to those takes, I’m going back to something I wrote about on Monday and have been trying to get my head around since. Why does Smoove continue to take jump shots when he’s only making them at a 37 percent clip at 28.3 effective field-goal percentage? Emailer Aaron, citing Hoopdata.com, broke it down even further: “Josh Smith is shooting 28.5% (28% after the Bucks game) on jumpshots in the 16-23 feet range. His career 3 pt% is 26.6%, meaning the decision to take long 2pt jumpshots over 3pt shots has cost the Hawks 21 points this season.”

Clearly Josh is just not good at shooting jumpers. Apparently everyone but Josh can see that he should stop taking them. How can he say he doesn’t notice when fans groan as soon as he catches the ball on the perimeter and looks at the basket. Heck, they dang near yell at him when he starts his windup. Why would he think “it will get better” when it’s not? How can he say he takes jumpers because they are available when the reason they are available is because opponents want him to shoot them? They get a double bonus because he’s very likely to miss and he’s nowhere near the rim for the rebound.

Then again, how can I be asking all these questions about a guy who’s been the most consistent Hawks performer all season? (Though I noticed Al lately has overtaken Josh to lead the Hawks in both on-court, off-court influence and adjusted plus-minus.) Honestly, I felt kind of jerky asking Josh why he takes jumpers. It felt like nitpicking at what might be the only consistent, glaring negative in his game this season. But because it’s so glaring and consistent I had to find out his thinking on the subject but instead of clearing things up it only confused me more.

Woody doesn’t really harp on the issue when I ask him about it. At first Smoove said Woody tells him to drive to the basket “all the time” but then added he doesn’t get on him too much “because he knows I play hard at both ends.” And I understand that but it’s got to be hard watching plays like that 20-footer he missed when the Hawks trailed San Antonio 101-97 the other night. Are decisions like that going to cost the Hawks in close playoff games?

I don’t understand why Josh keeps shooting jumpers but maybe it’s as simple as the more everyone thinks he can’t the more he thinks he can.

“I’m a confident player,” he said. “I believe in myself, not what somebody else believes in me.”

At this point, the Hawks might just need to hope Josh watches film again this summer and decides on his own he needs to quit taking those long jump shots.

– Ken S. has the game tonight.

MC

559 comments Add your comment

Hawk n the Ham

March 24th, 2010
3:12 pm

Keep taking those jumpers Smoove……one will fall before season’s end!

Hawk n the Ham

March 24th, 2010
3:14 pm

In the end MC, if you were to ask me one player I would keep on this roster if I could only choose one? It would be hands DOWN, Smoove.

Michael Cunningham

March 24th, 2010
3:16 pm

@hawk n the ham: i feel ya on that one.

Ryan

March 24th, 2010
3:22 pm

As the most athletic guy on the team, Josh can get to the rim when ever he chooses….he just has to choose. If he would jsut drive and kick in those situations, Jamal, JJ, and Bibby would have wide open shots.

Clyde

March 24th, 2010
3:24 pm

LeonShanks

March 24th, 2010
3:26 pm

Josh should be instructed by his (lame duck coach) mike woodsen to STOP taking 20 and 30 foot jump shots and start helping his team by driving to the basket and stuffing home the basketball. Dominique Wilkins could even even coach him on this. Josh is wasting his enormous talents by trying to win the 3pt contest each night constantly hoisting 3s. Josh should drive to the basket at about 90 miles an hour and go down the line as though it is vacant and leap through the air like superman and stuff the ball down the pipe. We need that from Josh in order for the hawks to be successful.

Fundamentals

March 24th, 2010
3:30 pm

Josh wants to prove he can hit the jumper to expand his game and access to the bucket. I can see that, but he has to be mature enough to realize a short jumper from just outside the paint is worth just as many as those a few inches inside the stripe. He couldn’t make them last year, he can’t make them this year.

Problem isn’t the jumper, it’s how far out he takes them. Why doesn’t Horford crank just inside the line 3’s? Because he can’t make them. That’s why he focusses just outside the paint…where he’s very effective.

Too bad Josh is too selfish and immature to see that. Hopefully he’ll have an epiphany this summer. When he does – Hello ALL STAR!

gtm

March 24th, 2010
3:31 pm

We’re working on him one season at a time. Look at his career stats; starting in 2006-2007 he took 152 3 pointers, then 99, 87, and this season 7 so far (with zero made, interestingly enough). I’ll take progress where and when we can given the level of the rest of his game.

Hawk n the Ham

March 24th, 2010
3:31 pm

Leon is right. Tell me how many guys in the NBA want to take a charge from Smoove going full speed with only one thing on his mind? Not many. And if they do….they might not do it again :)

Fundamentals

March 24th, 2010
3:32 pm

Our lack of scoring against the Magic is a confidence issue. It’s spurred by not stopping them on D or keeping them off the boards. It’s all an aggression issue. They need to bring it tonight!

Rufus1

March 24th, 2010
3:32 pm

Keep taking those Jumpers JOSH!!!

Josh has to take and hit those shots if we are going to advance in the playoffs. He is our best defender and will be on the floor in the 4Th and teams are going to leave him open…if he drive closer they are going to foul him.(3 of 10 jump shots or 6 of 10 from the line). In the 4Th we are playing 4 on 5 because the don’t guard Josh on offense..HE HAS TO MAKE THEM PAY!!!

Ree Roe

March 24th, 2010
3:33 pm

The Hawks problem vs. ORL is our inability to attack their D & specifically Bizzaro a.k.a. Dwight Howard. He usually doesn’t get into foul trouble & doesn’t have to work on D b/c Al is shooting 15 ft jumpers. We’ll win if we take the action to ORL, but if we stay on the perimeter we will most certainly lose.

I think the issue with Josh’s jumper is overstated. He attacks the rim much more consistently now than he ever has & he doesn’t shoot 3’s. Besides if Woody had a problem with Josh taking 3’s, take him out of the game…but we all have to recognize that there will be moments when Josh is open on the perimeter & has to take that shot. He can’t drive to the basket every single time.

-REEad it for Roe!!

b.j.

March 24th, 2010
3:41 pm

josh jumper is not that smoove at all lol, but with that being said he still has the most potential upside of all the hawks including big al and he can evenully even be a bigger star than joe,smoove just need to go to the buckets more this for the rest of this year pratice those jumpers over the summer and at pratice see how much lebrons shot has improved over the years iam not saying he;ll ever be a knock down mid range shooter but enough improvment with thats mid range shot and impeoving on the free throw line will make himm unstoppable,GO HAWKS well beat the magic by 7 tonight and i said it fist MC lol

SWAT Native

March 24th, 2010
3:41 pm

If Smoove wants to take jumpers, he should learn from Dominique and master the art of the bank shot, especially posting up.

northcyde

March 24th, 2010
3:43 pm

MC . . . you’re the only AJC sportswriter that I’ve seen that has EVER actively criticized Josh Smith. The jumpers ( especially the early in the shot clock jumpers ) are definitely a part of his game that he should abandon. Now, if there’s less than 5 seconds on the shot clock, he has to shoot the shot. If not, he should ALWAYS drive and look to score or pass to a shooter.

As I say with Josh Smith, all anybody has to do ( including him ), is to look at his Hotspots data on nba.com

http://www.nba.com/hotspots

Everything on the court is blue ( blue = bad shooting ), except the area around the rim. He FINALLY turned the area near the right elbow to gray, meaning that if he’s going to remotely hit a jumper, it’s going to be from that area.

HarveyPritchard

March 24th, 2010
3:45 pm

Fundamentals: Josh needs to prove he can hit that jumper after he has PRACTICED during the summer and the offseason by shooting maybe 10000 per day DURING THE OFFSEASON and not prior to practice. After he has gone through about 6 months of that, now he will be polished and accurate enough to try them in real games. Until then he is wasting his time because he will never hit them in real live games.

mike

March 24th, 2010
3:49 pm

never shoot josh.. always drive!! he must be a really stubborn individual.

Michael Cunningham

March 24th, 2010
3:55 pm

@northcyde: the only one ever? i’m sure someone must have said something along the way about his immaturity and 3-point shot issues in the past. i’m really not trying to rip Smoove but i think better shot discipline would raise his game even higher. and thanks for the hotspots link

northcyde

March 24th, 2010
3:57 pm

JeJe:

Don’t let northcyde sway your opinion. The guy thinks we’re an elite team and that we can make it past the ECF.

He thinks that we match up well vs. the elite teams and that we have a shot of beating them. Orlando OWNS us in every facet of the game — Horford has made it clear he hates playing defense and guarding the big man — watch how he played vs. Duncan for more information — no, his stat line doesn’t tell you !@#$. He had no idea how to play the P&R and the idiot Woodson ran TWO plays where Horford iso’ed on Duncan — are you serious?

And Philips Arena is hardly a home advantage. We are just a good home team now, as is evident by our losses to Miami, twice to the Knicks, OKC, and our pathetic performance in the playoffs vs. Cleveland last year

Done in 2nd round in 4 or 5

************

Now why tell a boldface lie about me sir?

LOL . . I KNOW the Hawks aren’t elite, and have said so on numerous occasions. It’s you guys who think that every game that we’ve blown, should’ve been a game that we win . . . but don’t take into account the games that we’ve come from behind to win, in that same equation.

The Hawks are who I thought they would exactly be . . . a great home team and a schizophrenic ( but better than last year ) road team. That’s why I’ve been able to enjoy this season, while 80% of the board have been stressed out all year.

All I say is that if we DO get to the EC Finals, all of you who have been dogging the Hawks, the coaches, and the players the entire year . . . don’t do a 180 degree turn, and act like you had faith in them from Day 1.

And for those of you who wish the Hawks go into a freefall, just so that the coach can get fired. LOL . . do yourself a favor and root for another team.

This team is much more mentally tough than the fan base. And so is the coach.

CalvinKlein

March 24th, 2010
3:58 pm

The best formula for beating the magic is to #1) DOUBLE TEAM DWIGHT HOWARD and #2) come up to the 3pt line to meet the 3pt shooters there with a hand in their face. Dont just let them have target practice out there unobstructed. The orlando shooters will shoot for a low percentage and dwight will be held to a reasonable number of points: maybe 15 pts and 12 rebounds. The Hawks should end up with a “W” after all is said and done.

Wabe

March 24th, 2010
3:59 pm

Just wanted to respond to a comment Rod made on that last blog. You made a good point when you mentioned Dwight Howard’s ability to defend in the post. But, that shouldn’t mean we phase Horford out of the offense. Why is that teams like Miami can give Orlando trouble, but we can’t even show that we belong on the same court? It’s because our BIGS are non-existent when we play Orlando. We can’t get easy buckets (points in the paint). Regardless of how Horford gets his touches, either on the block or in the pick and pop game, he needs to show up tonight. Horford hasn’t shown up to any of the games against Orlando. I don’t know if that has to do with his responsibilites defending Howard on the other end, but he needs to be involved in the offense.

northcyde

March 24th, 2010
4:01 pm

And we only have 3 shots at beating Orlando

1) we get Dwight in foul trouble, limiting his time on the court

2) they have a horrible shooting night from 3

3) our star players ( JJ, Crawford, and Smoove ), play at an extremely high level

We need at least one of those things to happen, in order to beat them .. . maybe 2 of those things.

VenomSpitter

March 24th, 2010
4:01 pm

If he wants to shoot jumpers he needs to shoot MID RANGE JUMPSHOTS. Not Long Range jumpers.

Blake

March 24th, 2010
4:04 pm

When is this team gonna quit having these 4th qtr meltdowns.It’s just a pure lack of concentration.If we play like we’ve been playing against Orlando we’ll get killed tonight.C’mon Hawks…put a body on big Dwight and block him out.Let’s go Hawks…run it up on Orlando!

Kanye West

March 24th, 2010
4:06 pm

Josh Smith hit a jump shot, IT’S AMAZING, SO AMAZING, SO AMAZING, SO AMAZING.

BYC

March 24th, 2010
4:07 pm

You guys see the math: Screw the long jumpers and start launching 3’s Josh!

Ree Roe

March 24th, 2010
4:07 pm

@ Calvin Klein, we’ve doubled Dwight Howard the past 6 games vs ORL and lost all of them. Either you haven’t watched us play Dwight or you’re ignorant to reality. Doubling Dwight is the problem. If Dwight goes for 30, fine. Our problem is Rashard, Redick & VC’s outside shooting not Dwight getting 20 & 15.

-REEtest Roe!!!

Astro Joe

March 24th, 2010
4:11 pm

Josh has the audacity to think that at 6′9″ and playing PF, he can be among the team’s top 3 in assists. He has the audacity to believe that at 6′9″ and playing PF, that he could be among the team’s leaders in steals. He has the audacity to believe that at 6′9″, he can be among the league leaders in blocked shots.

When a player has that much audacity, you will get some “inappropriate behavior”. He’s likely one of the league’s best fast-break finishers, yet he routinely attempts to run a fast break (often unsuccessfully). He has great quickness and leaping ability in the post yet he wants to shoot from distance (,30% success rate).

It took me a few years to appreciate the “Josh coin”. One side shines the other, well, one side shines. The only thing that still bothers me is his free throw shooting… he used to be around 70%+, now he has eased into something about 10% worse. I don’t care how audacious the young man is, hit your freakin’ free throws.

northcyde

March 24th, 2010
4:13 pm

MC. . . every blog I’ve seen on Smoove from an AJC writer, gives him a pass on this area. They assume like some of the fans that he’d eventually get better shooting the long jumper. In fact, he may have gotten worse.

Smoove is the hometown dude. So he’s going to get the benefit of the doubt because everyone wants him to succeed. I’m sure people are in his ear all the time telling him how great he could be, if he hit that jumper. What they should be telling him, is to attack the basket as much as possible, or be a good offensive rebounder ( ala what Shawn Marion used to be ), and get his points like that.

Wabe

March 24th, 2010
4:13 pm

I’d seriously let Dwight try and go for 50 tonight. Just let him get his. STAY ON THE SHOOTERS!

When we’re trying to mix and match and do both, we get both Dwight and the shooters going. It’s obvious that Dwight’s gonna get his one way or the other. I think you limit the 3-point looks and force them to dump the ball down low.

I’ll also say this, many here talk about how the league has picked up on how the Hawks falter in the 4th quarter, so opponents know the game is never over. Well, the league also knows that in a tight game in the 4th quarter, the Magic stop dumping the ball down to big Dwight. The guys on TNT gripe about this non-stop. So, if we can keep this thing tight going down into the 4th, it’s a possibility you’ll see Orlando play themselves right out of what they should be doing. Who knows? It’s a possibility.

I’m catch up with the blog after the game. UPPER LEVEL SEATS BI**CHES!

SWAT Native

March 24th, 2010
4:14 pm

It’s always interesting to read the other team’s newspaper to see how they see the matchup. The Orlando folks have a much more positive opinion of the Hawks than some us do (they see the Hawks as the Magic a few years ago):

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2010-03-23/sports/os-orlando-magic-0324-20100323_1_philips-arena-jamal-crawford-anthony-johnson

CalvinKlein

March 24th, 2010
4:15 pm

Ree Roe: You are correct. In the PAST we have doubled Howard with horrible results, but remember, THAT WAS THE PAST. As someone pointed out earlier, AL Horford can and will neutralize Dwight Howard by playing like a monster against Howard tonight. If “Big” Al goes for 30 points and 22 rebounds AND gets Howard into foul trouble, Howards numbers will be irrelevant and the Hawks should win easily. As far the 3pt shooters getting theirs; they wont if the Hawks step up and defend them at the 3pt line. If the Hawks allow the magic to shoot open 3pts the magic will make the hawks pay because orlando will make 3s ALL NIGHT LONG. If the Hawks step up and meet the magic shooters at the line with a hand in their face, forcing them to alter their shots, then those magic shooters will miss a large percenage of those shots and the hawks should walk away victorious.

SWAT Native

March 24th, 2010
4:19 pm

…and the Magic’s beat writer sums it up pretty sucinctly in his blog:

The Orlando Magic face the Atlanta Hawks, a team that is a tough out for anyone but the Magic. Atlanta simply can’t match up with Dwight Howard.

Westurd

March 24th, 2010
4:22 pm

Have we tried putting Teague on Biddys shoulders and having them play Howard together?

Couldn’t hurt to try

Ryan

March 24th, 2010
4:23 pm

I wish we were the nets so that all you people would have a reason to complain.

Ryan

March 24th, 2010
4:24 pm

Westurd, I spit Mountain Dew on my computer and this is my last MD. Lol I hate you a little

Michael Cunningham

March 24th, 2010
4:24 pm

@Astro Joe: yes, there is something to be said for audacity (though i don’t think it takes much audacity for a 6-9 guy with long arms and leaping ability to think he can be an elite shot blocker). i’ve seen Josh hit long jumpers at a high rate when the Hawks are playing shooting games after practice. good point on the FTs. i can’t prove it but i’m convinced his problems are due to Hawks PR Man Arthur Triche pointed out a Josh FT streak during a game at Phoenix.

404atlhoops

March 24th, 2010
4:26 pm

I agree with Venom pitter. Smith should only be taking midrange jumpers. What I don’t understand is late in the 4th quarter why is Smith always the guy Joe Johnson has to kick it out to when Johnson drives to the lane? This happened at end of regualation Friday night against the Bobcats, and again Monday versus the Bucks. Even though Marvin is stuggling with his jumper, I would rather see him take that shot over Smith anytime. Smith shouldn’t even be on the perimeter rather in the paint ready to crash the boards in that situation.

Michael Cunningham

March 24th, 2010
4:30 pm

* should read: “i can’t prove it but i’m convinced his problems are due to Hawks PR Man Arthur Triche pointing out a Josh made FT streak during the game at Phoenix.”

Ree Roe

March 24th, 2010
4:31 pm

@ Calvin Klein, if were expecting Al to get 30 & 22 for us to win then we will probably lose. If Al challenges Dwight at the rim & gets him in foul trouble, make Dwight work, we’ll have a chance. Woody can’t allow switching b/c you’ll see Josh or Marvin on Dwight or Al on Rashard. We need to approach this game with a playoff mentality…that includes coaching, matchups & substitutions.

-REEvive Roe!!!

O'Brien

March 24th, 2010
4:31 pm

Josh is tough to handle in the paint, and he is also a good passer. Why doesn’t he drive the ball, or pass it (unless there is less than 5 seconds on the clock)?

Woody has to take part of the blame too, because he needs to be on Josh about the jump shots. I dont care how hard he plays. If Al was taking 3s, and shooting .30%, would Woody not get on him over and over?

Popovich basically forbid Tony Parker from taking 3s during his early years in San Antonio, because TP did not have the range, and he is a much better player when he drives or passes. Same with Josh. Stay on him Woody.

northcyde,

Hawks need to make their FT too. In 3 games against the Magic, we are 33-52 (.63%) from the FT line. Thats a lot of (free) points left on the court. And we are 18-57 (.315%) on 3s. We need to drive, and not settle for so many 3s.

Wabe,

One of the things that allows other teams to beat the Magic is because they get penetration from their guards. We get nothing from our PG, and JJ does not initiate contact, so Crawford would be our best bet at penetration.

But against the Magic, Crawford is 4-14, 6-17, and 4-13. A combined 14-44 (.32%). That will not get it done Crawford. We need more out of you tonight.

northcyde

March 24th, 2010
4:39 pm

The one thing I love about Smoove, is that he’s not afraid to fail. That’s a trait that all star players possess.

He a hybrid between Shawn Kemp and Lamar Odom in talent . . with Rasheed Wallace’s attitude and brain at times. If we can get that Rasheed Wallace out of him, he’ll get to that next level as a player.

jon

March 24th, 2010
4:41 pm

I don’t think we should be focusing on J smmmovvee, Thank god, he’s been the most consistent Hawk this year. Just look at the numbers!!!!

Hawk n the Ham

March 24th, 2010
4:41 pm

LOL @ northcyde – just went all Frankenstein with Rasheed’s brain.

o.O-Mac-Town -Macon, Georgia- Westsider-O.o

March 24th, 2010
4:43 pm

MID-RANGE game = lost art

Smoove is usually wide open on those LONG jumpers….

if it just KILLS him that he has to take it…then why not take a few dribbles in closer then take the J????

newkid

March 24th, 2010
4:44 pm

@MC: Hope Smoove realizes that close to 100% of the expressions of concern he’s hearing from this crowd about his shot selection is because we want him to succeed more than any Hawk we’ve had since Nique. He’s our hometown hope, and I hope he feels the love. His maturation over the years (on and off the court) is filling us with pride, and we’d like nothing better than to see him continue his journey to SUPERSTARDOM, while bringing our Hawks along on the flight.

cp

March 24th, 2010
4:46 pm

Yea those long jumpers are just as bad as those 3’s he used to take. I’m glad he wanted to add something to his game but he has to realize that those shots are not falling at a clip that warrants him to keep shooting them. He should come in a lot closer.. And it always seems that he shoots those jumpers early in the shot clock or in clutch situations. He needs to put in a lot of work during the summer if he is going to keep taking them….Like others have said, don’t double Dwight. Let him get his but stay on those shooters. Knowing how we play the Magic I wouldn’t be shocked if some other bench guy puts up big numbers against us tonight.

o.O-Mac-Town -Macon, Georgia- Westsider-O.o

March 24th, 2010
4:46 pm

J-Smoove

Pros: He hustles more than anybody on the team, blocks shots, gets steals
Cons: He cant dribble or shoot…but thinks he can,,,,and he also has horrible post moves

VenomSpitter

March 24th, 2010
4:52 pm

I like Josh and think he can be the leader of this team. But I have to rename him Osh Smith becuz he has on J.

VenomSpitter

March 24th, 2010
4:53 pm

I like Josh and think he can be the leader of this team. But I have to rename him Osh Smith becuz he has no J.