Joe Smith to the Hawks? If it happens, it’s no big deal

It has been reported in many places that Joe Smith has signed with the Hawks. According to esteemed colleague and soon-to-be mayor of Smyrna Sekou Smith, Joe Smith hasn’t yet. It wouldn’t bother me if he doesn’t.

Because Joe Smith, at this stage of his career, is just another guy named Smith. (Not that guys named Smith can’t be big-time players. Josh Smith is. And not that a guy named Smith can’t be the best beat writer in the NBA. Sekou is.)

But Joe Smith is 34 and has already played for nine different teams. Last season he played for a bad team (Oklahoma City) and averaged 6.6 points and 4.6 rebounds and then went to a good one (Cleveland) and averaged 6.5 and 4.7.

And for all of you who are shouting, “But he’s a big man! The Hawks need a big man!” … he’s big only in theory. He’s a power forward. He shoots little jump shots. He’s no taller than Al Horford and considerably skinnier. Not to mention 11 years older.

At best, Smith is a 10-to-12 minute guy who can man a position without disgracing himself, but I don’t know that the current Joe Smith is any upgrade on the departed Solomon Jones. He’s a lot bigger name — yes, Smith is a bigger name than Jones — because he played at Maryland and was the first player drafted in 1995. But Smith isn’t an answer to any lingering Hawks questions. (He didn’t exactly shut down Dwight Howard in the Eastern Conference finals, did he?)

It has been suggested on AOL Fanhouse that Smith will help the Hawks gain on the NBA East’s Big Three. It won’t. If he does land here, he’ll be the ninth man. You know what the Hawks’ ninth man will be? He’ll be the guy Mike Woodson decides isn’t reliable enough to give serious minutes.

51 comments Add your comment

Hollywould

August 19th, 2009
3:22 pm

Dumb move/ this guy’s days are over.

Stevengilley15

August 19th, 2009
3:22 pm

Hmmm.Major addition, NO but good addition, YES, in adding a veteran big man helps the Hawks out a lot. Making us elite and gaining in on the NBA East top 3, no but adding Smith is not a downgrade and it is an upgrade as far as veteran leadership, playoff experience and size and body to bang with effective minutes. Because of his status alone, Woody will give him more of a role than Solomon Jones and Randolph Morris.

Plus he has a jump shot that can stretch the floor and add a pick and roll and pop dynamic to the offense. But it all depends on how Woody decides to use him. I think it is a good move but we still have a ways to go before becoming elite.

It starts at the head. I still don’t know what will make of the latest news about the Atlanta Spirit.

dap01

August 19th, 2009
3:22 pm

Mark, I love your column. But I disagree. The Hawks will benefit tremendously from a veteran who knows how to play. We have talent but the Hawks do not necessarily know how to play. Joe Smith is a professional, the Hawks need that role model.

Besides, Woody’s insightful tutelage will only take them so far.

A Tribe Called Quest

August 19th, 2009
3:23 pm

Wow, this is complete garbage.

(He didn’t exactly shut down Dwight Howard in the Eastern Conference finals, did he?)

Did anyone shut down Dwight Howard? Can anyone in the league prevent Dwight from putting up 20 & 15 in a game? No.

“(Cleveland) and averaged 6.5 and 4.7.”

Why don’t you look up the mpg he played. He played better than ZaZa.

Learn to spew informative facts

A Tribe Called Quest

August 19th, 2009
3:24 pm

“He’s no taller than Al Horford and considerably skinnier”

No.

Anyone who would rather have Solomon Jones than Joe Smith should not be allowed to write about sports.

But I forgot — you know everything.

Nique

August 19th, 2009
3:25 pm

While I’m not the biggest Joe Smith fan & agree with you that his importance & this acquasition is being a little overblown concerning its imporatnce & what it does for the Hawks as a team, i profoundly disagree with the fact that you are questioning if he’s an upgrade of Solo! That’s not even a question & Smith will pay some dividens & will help the team, it consistancy, scoring off the bench, & even a little bit defensively & from a leadership point, but he is not the missing piece! He is not the answer for our BIG MAN problems, he will not help defense the Big;s in the East who kill us/will kill us Suaq, Sheed, K.G. D. Howard, he does not solve those issues in the least bit, but he will create more floor spacing offensively because he can knock down a J consistantly better than any other Big on our squad can, which will help unclog the lane for those who like to drive to the whole. But yes, WE DO STILL NEED ANOTHER BIG!!!

SR

August 19th, 2009
3:26 pm

Oh you’re not kidding- take it from someone who lives in the Bay Area and watched this cupcake get his arse handed to him time after time after time. Get someone who is nasty, can board and play some real D and then we’ll talk.

Mark Bradley

August 19th, 2009
3:30 pm

You did it, Dap01. You made me laugh. Thanks. I’d been having kind of a sickly day, and I needed that.

Jesse

August 19th, 2009
3:33 pm

Joe Smith is being signed to be a backup PF, and he will be a good one. This is not a major move, but it’s a good move. Smith is a great jumpshooter but also gets to the line at a decent rate; he’s a solid rebounder; he’s one of the best at taking charges in the league; and he hardly ever turns the ball over. Basically, he’s a solid, experienced piece at a position of need, signed on a cheap short-term contract. If he can give us a solid 15-18 minutes a night and provide depth in case of injury, then he’s done his job. I like the signing.

MannyT

August 19th, 2009
3:46 pm

Joe Smith has a little more offensive game close to the basket than we had last year. That alone gives the Hawks another tool. Good for them. Better depth might be useful.

Given the talent that is available to sign right now, do you really have another preference?

BWAF

JR

August 19th, 2009
3:47 pm

We’ll have to watch and see if Soloman Jones can be a player. We all know Woodson couldn’t develop a good case of the flu. Smith is past development stage so he probably won’t be damaged goods when he moves on to his 11th team.

Anakin Joe

August 19th, 2009
3:48 pm

I think you would agree that the Hawks need a back-up forward and that Joe Smith is a better option than Stromile Swift, Michael Ruffin, Brian Skinner or Alan Henderson. So to say that you won’t be excited by Smith’s signing is to say that you are fine with seeing Loren Woods on the court when inevitably, a front court player misses 3-5 games. Your Employee of the Year, who seemingly operates one deal at a time, doesn’t have many options left. Unless you want Mikki Moore.

Benjamin

August 19th, 2009
3:56 pm

Saying Joe played better than ZaZa is a bit of a stretch, considering how well ZaZa played in the playoffs at times. Pachulia > Joe Smith by a pretty decent margin.

Joe is an addition that would offer depth, and I have no problem with that, but he’s not really a difference maker.

JAMES KIRKLAND

August 19th, 2009
4:01 pm

WASHINGTON WIZARDS HAS THREE SEVEN FOOTERS, WE CAN’T PRY ONE OF THEM AWAY? WHY CAN’T OUR COACHES REALIZE THAT HORFORD IS A TRUE POWER FOWARD INSTEAD OF A CENTER, WE NEED A TRUE CENTER MR. SUND.

dan

August 19th, 2009
4:12 pm

The hawks will miss the playoffs they didn’t do enough to get better this off season. I think even if they made the playoffs they will be in either have the 7th or 8th seed and have to face boston or cleveland in the first round which will result in a possible sweep.

BarkingBulldawg

August 19th, 2009
4:21 pm

You are wrong, Bradley. Key pickup for the Hawks.

I do love the “He’ll be the guy Mike Woodson decides isn’t reliable enough to give serious minutes” line though.

FIRE WOODY

GoHawks21

August 19th, 2009
4:32 pm

Wow!!! To compare Joe Smith and Solo. Solo was garbage no offense to him but he was always out of place and soft as buuter. joe smith is a very good pick up who can provide veteran leadership to our young guys. We need some veterans on this team and some size. Is he 7 feet? No, but how many 7 footers are there in the league. He is a major upgrade from what we had last year coming off the bench and he can play a few positions to give guys breaks. The Hawks finally have some much needed depth and some experienced proven players to come off the bench. I can’t believe you compared Joe smith and Solomon Jones. Jioe also averaged nearly 11 points and 7 boards in the 1st round of the playoffs. Did Solomon Jones even average a point or a rebound for the season??

HAWKS 101

August 19th, 2009
4:45 pm

I am sick of folks bashing Mike Woodson. Every year since Woody has been here the Hawks record has improved.It is real simple, if you do not like him, then pull for another team.

mike

August 19th, 2009
4:46 pm

Mark, I usually always agree with you, but I find myself disagreeing with this article. First of all Joe Smith may be 6′10-11, but he plays bigger. Second of all, who would you rather have come off the bench if Zaza, Al, or Josh are in foul trouble, Randolph Morris or Joe Smith. I, like others, feel that this is a key pickup, much like the low key pickup of a guy named Flip last year.

HawksNeedaBig

August 19th, 2009
4:52 pm

Do I love this pickup? No. Would I be willing to write a blog criticizing it? Absolutely not! Joe Smith may be physically similar to Horford, but he *plays* bigger than that. I came up with my screen name back when Big Baby and Leon Powe, and even Shelden Williams, were available. But I’ve come to realize that physical size isn’t everything. Would Davis or Powe give us any more stats than Joe Smith, other than poundage? This is a solid, veteran pickup for a good price. We already have Zaza to be the bruiser, and Smith will provide leadership as well as minutes, for this young team.

PD

August 19th, 2009
5:10 pm

This is a good pickup Mark for the price and experience. “Mark the Shock-Blogger” strikes again with another article that goes no where. Where is the beef man? A real story would be nice. Just because the AJC down-sized don’t down-size a good story. Find one please and I will read and hopefully I won’t want to kick in my computer monitor.

BPJ

August 19th, 2009
5:22 pm

Anyone who has watched the Hawks can see the importance of a good bench; over the course of an NBA season, it helps avoid injuries and fatigue to have some “10 to 12 minute guys who won’t disgrace themselves”. I think Joe Smith is better than that – maybe a 15 minutes a night guy who won’t make stupid mistakes, and is a good defender.

I recall nights when Mookie Blaylock was the best player on the court for 3 quarters, but by the 4th he was running out of gas. He would wind up playing the most minutes of anyone on either team. But the coach (Wilkins) didn’t have a backup point guard whom he could put on the court for 10 to 15 minutes a night without worrying that he would throw the game away! Subs matter.

Westurd

August 19th, 2009
5:47 pm

time will tell…….Itching to see the first jump ball already!

Native Son

August 19th, 2009
5:53 pm

This is utter garbage for the Hawks to take Joe Smith. No value. Won’t bring anything to the table we don’t already have. We’d just have two PF’s masquerading as legit bigs. Thumbs Down on this move, and I’ll say to each his own on this issue, since it appears to be a bit polarizing.

The Truth

August 19th, 2009
6:06 pm

Mark,

What I see you’re doing is stirring the pot. I really don’t believe that you even believe your own BS. Unfortunately, your article is not just locally read but has appeared nationally via reprints in other sports outlets (even in a Google). Now the nation knows what little you know about basketball. To say that Joe Smith is not an upgrade over Solo is laughable and even outrageous. Solo is a foul magnet waiting to happen. He may get an occasional rebound or 2 with his length. But he has very little offensive game. He will even admit that he is still trying to “learn the game” and need more minutes to prove himself. The 13 year veteran Joe Smith is much more polished offensively and will provide better defense because he has a higher basketball I.Q. I won’t even go into the veteran leadership part because it’s unnecessary to make the point.

Oh, I get it, maybe you are just trying to dampen Joe Smith’s ego so he won’t think he is that valuable to the team. Perhaps it would help Sund lowball offer. That is the only logical reasoning to explain the stunt.

All I'm Saying Is...

August 19th, 2009
6:06 pm

Everyone knows Hawks need a big yet Rick Sund decided not to go after Tyson Chandler who landed with Charlotte or even Theo Ratliff who was signed by the Spurs so they had their chance.

Many on this blog dislike Chandler and think Ratliff has nothing left. Larry Brown and Greg Popovich both know a little about basketball and have championship rings (LB at NCAA and NBA level and Pop with four at NBA level) so I’ll trust their judgment.

Signing Joe Smith makes little to no difference at this point. What we must do is sign
Garrett Siler as he is a BIG MAN.

Then we must hope Randolph truly steps up his game (as has been rumored) so that the two of them along with ZaZa can provide some type of big-man-by-committee as given what we have the best thing for Hawks to do is to move ZaZa to starting center and move Al to starting PF with Josh Smith as starting SF (small in name only).

We can’t stop elite bigs in the East such as Howard or Shaq or Perkins or any of the elite bigs in the West such as Nene in Denver, Bynum in LA, even Dampier in Dallas so we’ll have to run the floor and spread fouls around the three headed center monster combo of ZaZa/Howard/Siler.

LET’S GO HAWKS!

Volman

August 19th, 2009
6:08 pm

Mr. Bradley, you have usually been very good recently in your blogs..but today you have done two miserable blogs. I think it’s time to call it a day.

See you at the bars.

lenny wilkins

August 19th, 2009
6:10 pm

Didn’t the Hawks try to sign him midseason several years ago ony to get turned down so Joe Smith could play with another team. I think I even saw him visiting Philips.

Hawkshurrah

August 19th, 2009
6:25 pm

Mark, While I agree that Joe Smith will not solve the many Hawk’s big man issues, I must disagree with your thoughts regarding Joe Smith and Solo. Actually, after reading several of your columns about the Hawks and the NBA, I plan to resist any temptation to do so in the future. You actually do not seem to know much about the NBA. And I agree that Sekou is terrific. I just wish he could spell.

Najeh Davenpoop

August 19th, 2009
6:32 pm

Can’t agree with this. Joe Smith may not be a cure-all for the big man depth problems the Hawks have, but if he doesn’t sign, Randolph Morris gets his minutes. I know who I’d rather have playing 10-15 minutes a game in the playoffs against the likes of Kevin Garnett.

MightyQuinn

August 19th, 2009
6:37 pm

Feeling sickly, Mark? What’s up?

jerrywest

August 19th, 2009
7:00 pm

10 reasons Joe Smith is what the Dr ordered.

10. Pick and Roll.
9. He plays bigger than his size.
8. The elite teams get free agents like Joe for Veteran minimum. Cleveland wanted him. Hawks haven’t signed a FA like Joe in a long time. Hopefully, this will open a flood gate in the next few years.
7. He signed for Veteran Minimum which means the league will pay most of his salary and the Hawks will pay only the portion equal to rookie-miniumum.
6. He can play defense and offense for 10-15 minutes a game at a very high level. The other team won’t make a run when two of our starting big men are in foul trouble.
5. He signed for 1 year (short contract- no consequence on future cap space)
4. Playoff tested. He was injured against the Hawks, but he was awesome against the Pistons in the 1st round.
3. His midrange shots will open up the lane for JJ/Crawford/Teague to penetrate.
2. Woody has nothing to teach him. Joe will work fine on autopilot.
1. Joe will guide Josh/Al/Zaza on how to play each player in the NBA. Their developments could make quantum big leaps playing with Joe.

howie

August 19th, 2009
7:07 pm

There is no other big man availalbe with comparable stats and Joe Smith gives the Hawks a 10 player rotation, the 8 they had last year was not enough.

Not a season breaker but having a solid vet on the team is a plus….sigh him and get the season started!

Big Ray

August 19th, 2009
7:57 pm

Mark,

Joe Smith won’t cure some of the bigger ailments the Hawks have. He won’t get us any closer to the Big 3. Barring a major trade (which would still be a gamble) or a gigantic leap of performance by one or more existing Hawks players, nothing will.

Smith will be a backup to the younger Smith, and may play some minutes where Zaza normally is, on occasion…and only as necessary. As far as Woodson is concerned, something tells me he’ll find more use for an able veteran than he did for the young guy who now suits up in Indiana. Just a hunch.

We need the depth. And as others have noted, even the scrap pile is thinning out.

Shoeless Joe

August 19th, 2009
8:28 pm

He was signed to be a bit player and he will play a bit. That’s it.

doc

August 19th, 2009
9:25 pm

volman it might have been from one, say manuel’s. drink a few and head into a stall with the blackberry.

West Coast Hawks Fan

August 19th, 2009
9:50 pm

I agree the Hawks need a big man. What would the starting lineup look like if we were to get a true starting center? Al Horford is a power forward playing out of position no questions asked. Al would slide down to the 4 so that means Josh at the 3? He has the talent even at his size to play that positon but he’s one or two summers away of taking five hundred jumpshots a day along with smart shot selection before he becomes a polished small forward. Where does this leave Marvin? He could be our version of Jason Terry with the Mavs, but JT gets starter mins off the bench. There goes that scenario because that means less mins for Josh. I say keep Al at the five. Joe Johnson could move to the 3 and leave Josh at the 4. Jamal and Mike can start in the backcourt and bring Marvin off the bench. He can still get his 12 to 15 pts a game. The Hawks would have one hellava bench!! One last thing RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN!!!!!!!!!!! Coach Woodson that halfcourt bs doesn’t fit with the type of players we have. These are my humble opinions thanks for reading.

Mark Bradley

August 19th, 2009
10:57 pm

I’m OK, Quinn. (Thanks for asking.) Just a slight case of … something or other.

A Tribe Called Quest

August 19th, 2009
11:15 pm

Wow, this is complete garbage.

(He didn’t exactly shut down Dwight Howard in the Eastern Conference finals, did he?)

Did anyone shut down Dwight Howard? Can anyone in the league prevent Dwight from putting up 20 & 15 in a game? No.

“(Cleveland) and averaged 6.5 and 4.7.”

Why don’t you look up the mpg he played. He played better than ZaZa.

Learn to spew informative facts

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A Tribe Called Quest

August 19th, 2009
3:24 pm

“He’s no taller than Al Horford and considerably skinnier”

No.

Anyone who would rather have Solomon Jones than Joe Smith should not be allowed to write about sports.

But I forgot — you know everything.

Angus

August 19th, 2009
11:46 pm

The biggest joke every year in the NBA is all teams teams (including the Hawks) that think they have a shot.

Take a look at the Finals MVPs since ~1980:
http://www.nba.com/history/finals/champions.html

If you don’t have one of them, you don’t have a shot.

Mañana.

Hawkman Jones

August 20th, 2009
12:07 am

There’s always Brian Skinner…

Pinball34

August 20th, 2009
1:22 am

Mark.. get your Cracker nose out of Sekou’s hiney…

nes

August 20th, 2009
2:07 am

Mark talking about the NBA is like ESPN having Berman do the NHL–pathetic.

[...] Mark Bradley, AJC: "It has been reported in many places that Joe Smith(notes) has signed with the Hawks. According to esteemed colleague and soon-to-be mayor of Smyrna Sekou Smith, Joe Smith hasn’t yet. It wouldn’t bother me if he doesn’t. Because Joe Smith, at this stage of his career, is just another guy named Smith. (Not that guys named Smith can’t be big-time players. Josh Smith(notes) is. And not that a guy named Smith can’t be the best beat writer in the NBA. Sekou is.) But Joe Smith is 34 and has already played for nine different teams. Last season he played for a bad team (Oklahoma City) and averaged 6.6 points and 4.6 rebounds and then went to a good one (Cleveland) and averaged 6.5 and 4.7. And for all of you who are shouting, ‘But he’s a big man! The Hawks need a big man!’ … he’s big only in theory. He’s a power forward. He shoots little jump shots. He’s no taller than Al Horford(notes) and considerably skinnier. Not to mention 11 years older."  [...]

[...] the next few years makes the extra cost on the Carroll deal not that large a burden." Mark Bradley, AJC: "It has been reported in many places that Joe Smith(notes) has signed with the Hawks. [...]

[...] Mark Bradley, AJC: "It has been reported in many places that Joe Smith(notes) has signed with the Hawks. According to esteemed colleague and soon-to-be mayor of Smyrna Sekou Smith, Joe Smith hasn’t yet. It wouldn’t bother me if he doesn’t. Because Joe Smith, at this stage of his career, is just another guy named Smith. (Not that guys named Smith can’t be big-time players. Josh Smith(notes) is. And not that a guy named Smith can’t be the best beat writer in the NBA. Sekou is.) But Joe Smith is 34 and has already played for nine different teams. Last season he played for a bad team (Oklahoma City) and averaged 6.6 points and 4.6 rebounds and then went to a good one (Cleveland) and averaged 6.5 and 4.7. And for all of you who are shouting, ‘But he’s a big man! The Hawks need a big man!’ … he’s big only in theory. He’s a power forward. He shoots little jump shots. He’s no taller than Al Horford(notes) and considerably skinnier. Not to mention 11 years older."  [...]

Clayton

August 20th, 2009
3:43 pm

I don’t think this is a bad move, the guy is older but the Hawks weren’t looking for and and can’t afford a star, they have there rotation set with Josh Smith, Hortford, Pach, and Marvin Williams, Joe Smith can help rebound and play defense and gives the bench one more big man. My question is: Is there another one out there better that would sign for the vet minimum? I can’t think of one

Sautee

August 20th, 2009
4:21 pm

Joe Smith IS an upgrade over Solo BECAUSE Woody will use him. If Woody had the b@lls to use Solo the last couple of years, he MAY have developed into a reliable backup. But Joe is decidedly better, and has all those years of experience.

Woody WILL use Joe Smith. He would NOT have used Solo as much.

Reason enough right there.

tjhook

August 21st, 2009
3:58 pm

Mr. Bradley, MOVE AWAY from the desk. Your article puts you in direct violation of the Atlanta Constitution’s effort to promote responsible journalism to its readers. STOO-PID writer!!

[...] Mark Bradley, AJC: "It has been reported in many places that Joe Smith(notes) has signed with the Hawks. According to esteemed colleague and soon-to-be mayor of Smyrna Sekou Smith, Joe Smith hasn’t yet. It wouldn’t bother me if he doesn’t. Because Joe Smith, at this stage of his career, is just another guy named Smith. (Not that guys named Smith can’t be big-time players. Josh Smith(notes) is. And not that a guy named Smith can’t be the best beat writer in the NBA. Sekou is.) But Joe Smith is 34 and has already played for nine different teams. Last season he played for a bad team (Oklahoma City) and averaged 6.6 points and 4.6 rebounds and then went to a good one (Cleveland) and averaged 6.5 and 4.7. And for all of you who are shouting, ‘But he’s a big man! The Hawks need a big man!’ … he’s big only in theory. He’s a power forward. He shoots little jump shots. He’s no taller than Al Horford(notes) and considerably skinnier. Not to mention 11 years older."  [...]