Charlotte–I started to ask L.D. about Smoove shooting more jump shots lately and before I could even finish the question he was rolling his eyes.
Remember that when L.D. was announced as the new Hawks coach he said he would get Josh off the perimeter and down in the post. Josh said L.D. is the coach and so he would comply.
Yet clearly it’s going to take some work for the two to get on the same page. Against the Heat last night Josh launched a jumper early in the game on a play that called for him to work in the post. He also fired a 3-pointer late in the game.
Each time Josh takes a bad jumper, L.D. is there to let him know about it. Like Woody before him, L.D. has seen that Smoove doesn’t always appreciate the feedback.
“He snarled at me a little bit early in the game yesterday but I was fine with it,” L.D. said. “I want him to establish himself down low. I don’t want him to rely on making perimeter shot.”
It’s a reasonable request considering the drastic difference in conversion rates between Smoove’s attempts near the basket and those farther away. Yet despite the numbers Josh just can’t seem to help winding up and letting fly when he’s on the perimeter and the defense is inviting him to do so.
L.D. said he doesn’t doubt Josh believes he can make long jump shots. He said he hasn’t told him to stop taking them altogether “because his stroke has certainly improved and he has worked on it.” But he doesn’t want them early in the shot clock, late in games or when the play calls for Josh to be in the post.
That latter point is how L.D. frames the issue: He doesn’t labor the point that Josh can’t make jumpers, but rather points out that he needs to be in the paint because he’s so effective there.
“I just tell him when I run something put him in the post don’t want him letting the defense off the hook shooting a fadeaway jump shot,” L.D. said. “I believe in his ability down in the post to get a basket or get fouled. Shooting a fadeaway is letting your defender off the hook.”
Powell in the mix
He’s still figuring out how the minutes will be distributed but L.D. said the 10 guys who played the bulk of the minutes against Miami will be the “main core” to start the season. That group will include Josh Powell.
“He’s going to be a big part of us being successful,” Drew said.
Powell signed with the Hawks for a chance to play more than he did with the Lakers and it looks like he will get his shot.
“Having been associated with a championship team, I think that speaks volumes,” L.D. said. “He plays with a physicality that I really like. He’s a guy you can post up. He can make an outside shot. Defensively, he has an understanding how to defend the low post and he has quick feet. If he ever gets switched out on a two or a three he’s got the foot speed to keep him in front.”
Powell has been playing most of the preseason with a sore groin but he’s pushed through it.
Mo and Pape Sy stayed behind in Atlanta. Bibby is getting the night off.
“He is a little banged up,” Drew said.