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Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)
Ok, I'm just having fun this morning.
Here are 2 ways that, to me, seem reasonable to get Josh Smith from Atlanta
Hawks fans and management are souring on Josh Smith. He doesn't shoot well enough to be a SF, and isn't as good a PF prospect at Al Horford. At the same time, the Hawks are trotting out a terrible lead guard in Mike Bibby next to Joe Johnson. In the Hawks's perfect world, maybe, they replace Josh Smith with a talented PG and save a bit of money at the same time (or at least don't spend more).
Let's pretend they fall under Shaq's spell and sign him to play C. Then they can move Horford to PF, play Marvin Williams at SF. This gives them the flexibility to move Smith for a viable PG.
What the Hawks DON'T need is Jason Richardson. What the Suns need to trade, to get Josh Smith, is Jason Richardson.
How do we solve this dilemma? A third team, with an available PG.
Like, Golden State's Monta Ellis to Altanta
Altanta gets Ellis, GS gets JRich and Earl Clark, Suns gets Josh Smith and (to make salaries work) the expiring contract of Vlad Radmanovic.
Golden State has Steph Curry for PG duty, but at 6'2" he cannot successfully play with an equally short and defense-deficient SG in Ellis who also needs the ball in his hands. Ellis is a scorer/playmaker extraordinaire. Both players would ideally fit next to a 6'6" or 6'7" strong SG. Their new owner might be wanting to engender fan support, and bringing back a long-time fave in Jason Richardson would do the trick. This also gives GS - over the cap this season already - flexibility next summer.
Of course, Vlad wouldn't play a minute for the Suns but he would help convince GS to do the deal, and he's expiring.
Or New Jersey's Devin Harris to Altanta
NJ has a new PG in Jordan Farmar (don't laugh). And they have a real playmaker find in 2nd-yr man Terrance Williams. They've already figured out that Devin Harris is not the future in NJ. So far, they struck out in free agency. Like, bigtime. Like, nothing worth writing home about. And they have a new owner. Lately, the talk has been that they will wait till next summer to make their big splash. So why not give themselves more flexibility now?
ATL gets Devin Harris and Earl Clark. NJ gets Jason Richardson. Suns get Josh Smith.
The Skinny on Josh Smith
Either deal works all the way around, netting the Suns a real PF in Josh Smith. That would allow Chill and Duds to play SG, and Turk and Hill to play SF, and Smith and Warrick to play PF. More balanced, I admit.
For those you desperate for a "real" PF, he's as good as it gets for this system. Here's Hollinger's writeup on Smith last year.
Scouting report: A left-hander with explosive leaping ability, Smith came into the pro game straight from high school and his mental game has lagged his physical skills ever since. He still doesn't have a great idea of what a good shot is or understand that his jumper doesn't qualify as one in most situations. Granted, one must also point out that the Hawks' coaching staff constantly leaves him in positions to spot up on the perimeter -- what do they think is going to happen?
Smith has long arms and great timing for shot blocks, though he was less aggressive about going for blocks last season. His long arms also make him adept at picking up smaller players on switches -- in fact, the Hawks switched virtually every screen last season because of the mobility of Smith and Al Horford.
Smith is at his best in transition; he can push the ball up court himself, and he sees the floor fairly well. He's also, of course, an outrageous dunker when he's on the business end of transition passes. In half-court settings he takes far too many jump shots with his long, side-shoulder release, which defenses are more than happy to concede.
He's better at attacking bigger players off the dribble from the high post, or posting up smaller ones straight up from the right block. As he's developed more muscle, the Hawks have called his number on the latter play more often, with Smith able to curl in toward the rim for a lefty shot or spin back to the baseline and shoot. He shot a career-best 60.4 percent in the immediate basket area last season, and those post-ups helped him get there.
2009-10 outlook: Smith is only 23 years old, and while he hasn't figured things out as quickly as Hawks fans might have hoped, it's easy to forget the considerable progress he's made. Atlanta's addition of more perimeter players may help him focus on sticking to his knitting in the paint, and it would help him further if the Hawks' play calls gave him something to do besides stand 20 feet from the rim waiting for a kickout.
The fact remains that he's going to be only a third or fourth option for this team. The way he can really make an impact is by dominating defensively with his shot-blocking ability. For whatever reason, that talent was largely AWOL last season, but if it bounces back, Smith can resume his push toward stardom.
Anyway, this is just having a little fun. I've already argued that the Suns are plenty fine the way they are. And these trades will probably also be available at the trade deadline.
But just to give us something to talk about on a Saturday in mid-July...