Earlier this off season, the Detroit Pistons finally decided to make their splash in the market by signing 27-year old Josh Smith for 4 years and $56 million. At first glance, Smith is an exciting strong young player who has been an electric player ever since he entered the league. He is big, athletic, and has a defensive presence that Detroit as a team lacked in general. Plus with the developing front court of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, how could this possibly go wrong?
Well, there are actually a couple of big reasons that this could end up biting Joe Dumars and the rest of the Pistons in the butt if they do not adjust accordingly to the team that they have right now. This team looks like they definitely can make a push for a lower playoff spot but they need to be careful with how they set it all up in order for this odd mix of players to fit in with this new addition.
The first concern here is shooting. The Pistons ranked 18th is outside shooting in the 2013 season and looked to improve that stat for the coming year. The main reason for this is to spread out the floor for Monroe and Drummond so they have more room to work and make the offense flow better. They drafted Kentavious Cawldwell Pope from Georgia to improve this stat and also added Chauncey Billups to the roster which will improve this stat as well. However, when it comes to Josh Smith...let's just say he likes to shoot threes more than he likes to dunk and I'd like to think he enjoys doing that a lot. The problem is he is a MUCH better dunker.
Smith shot 30.3% from the outside line last year jacking up 201 3-pointers in the regular season. What makes that stat worse is maybe about 30% of those shots were smart attempts while the majority were very poor in terms of shot selection which is something Josh needs to settle down if he wants to make any attempt to spread the floor for the young big mean developing on this team. If he keeps up his lack of good shot selection Detroit may be in trouble.
The second biggest concern is the front court rotation. As I said before the idea of Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond is a terrifying thought, but if you look at it realistically it is a pretty confusing situation. Monroe and Drummond can only play the 4 and 5 while Smith can play the 3, 4, or 5 spot in a lineup. This leaves Smith mainly in the 3 spot when this power lineup is on the floor which causes the following issues. The first is that he is slow for a small forward even being so fast for his size. In terms of speed it will be hard for Smith to keep up with fast fowards like Lebron, Paul George, or Kevin Durant. The second issue is back to the shooting, being at that position he will likely camp outside a lot and that just will not end well.
Putting Smith on the floor with this young front court could end up being great if he settles down his shooting and learns to work the outside efficiently to give the big men more room to work, but with how he has played his whole career this I think is the biggest issue at hand.
Overall though, the idea of bringing Josh Smith to Detroit was not a horrible one. This will bring more life to a team who desperately needs it and will give this team a better chance of making the postseason whether these issues arise or not. In the end, he put the team back on the radar paired with the uprising of Andre Drummond and hopefully these issues can be avoided. A very exciting signing with high risk but also a very high possible reward.