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.”
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.