Beggars can’t be choosers, and for years the Hawks have been beggars when it comes to All-Star selections. This is the first time since 1998 that the team has placed as many as two men in the game, and that’s nice.
But not nice enough. Should’ve been three.
Josh Smith should be going, too.
Got no problem with Joe Johnson. Got no problem with Al Horford. They’re both deserving. But they’re no more deserving — maybe not as deserving — as Josh Smith.
There are two reasons these Hawks are clearly better than last season’s Hawks. Jamal Crawford is one. Smith is the other. He has taken his game, as they say, to the next level. He has learned to play basketball, as opposed to simply running and jumping and dunking. He’s averaging 15.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, a career-best 3.9 assists and 2.2 blocks. He has made 51.2 percent of his shots, also a personal best.
I know Josh Smith wanted badly to make it. We talked about it a couple of weeks ago. At the time, I thought he had a great case but might get overlooked because the Hawks still aren’t a media magnet. But I’m shocked that two Hawks made it — and don’t get me wrong; I think Horford is tremendous — and Smith isn’t one of them.
And I’m not the only one who’s disappointed. Here’s co-owner Michael Gearon Jr.: “Josh Smith is an All-Star and he deserves to be there. He deserves to make that team as much as any of the players who were selected. He is an All-Star, and he’s the heart and soul of our team. He deserves to be there.”
From general manager Rick Sund: “There area lot of players in the NBA who put up All-Star numbers, and then there are players who are All-Star players. Josh is an All-Star player.”
He is. He’s having a great year. He has come a million miles since he was drafted out of Oak Hill Academy back in 2004. If you’re asking me who’s the best Hawk, I’d still say Joe Johnson. If you’re asking me who’s the team MVP, it’s Josh Smith.