Among the training camp clichés that seem never pan out to be true — “we’re going to play faster this year” and “Player X has shot 500 jump shots a day this summer” are our favorites — is this classic from Atlanta:
Josh Smith says he will be better about his shot selection.
This year he says it’s the people around him that will get him to stop launching jumpers, via the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
“You haven’t seen the roster?” Smith turned around a reporter’s question about his long-range shooting plans on a rebuilt Hawks roster. “We’ve got Kyle Korver, Devin Harris, Louis Williams, Anthony Morrow, Anthony Tolliver. Am I missing anyone? Jeff Teague. … So there we go. That answers that question. I didn’t even say my name did I? Call me mid-range shawty.”
Except, he needs to be more selective from the midrange, too.
Last season Smith took 1.6 three pointers a game, down from 2 the season before. He shot 25.5 percent from three last year, so him cutting down on threes would be good.
But he took 6.3 shots per game from 16 feet out to the arc — long twos, the worst shot in basketball. And that was two more than the season before. He hit 37 percent of those twos, which is not a terrible percentage but that is just too many long twos a game to be efficient. Smith has got to get his looks closer in to the rim.
But it’s Josh Smith, I’ll believe he’s only taking and making midrange when I see it.
Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.
Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.
Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.
Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.
His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.
George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).
As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.