While the spotlight has firmly been on Dwight Howard and his meetings with teams, Josh Smith was in Los Angeles too, talking to teams pursuing him.
Smith, arguably the second best free agent still on the market this summer, spoke with Detroit, who was rumored to want to make a big offer to him. There were talks with Houston, which is contemplating pairing him with Howard if they land him. Boston has been mentioned, even though that doesn’t make a ton of sense for them. Atlanta is expected to make an offer to keep him. There were others.
While the spotlight followed Dwight Howard to the Rocky Mountains as he was thinking about his options, Smith planned to spend the Fourth of July and the weekend at home thinking about his next play.
Smith has said he wants a max contract but apparently so far that has not been forthcoming. He averaged 17.5 points and 8.4 rebounds a game plus is a good defensive forward. There’s a lot to like. The biggest drawback is he doesn’t play to his strengths — he’s a beast inside five feet but has a penchant for jump shots he does not make that often.
Smith’s best play may be to wait until Howard makes his move (that could be Friday) then see how the market shifts for him. If Howard chooses Houston that may become an option. Otherwise, teams that miss out on Howard might make a run. Bottom line is as teams become a little more desperate his options may increase.
But it still may not get him the max deal he wants. Teams are more cautious with the new CBA. But either way Smith is home thinking it over.
Robin Lopez had reason to be upset from the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
This miss was all on him.
Dwyane Wade (26 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) was the Bulls’ best player in their Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.
But the 35-year-old guard clearly didn’t go all out on every possession.
Players can justify not closing out by claiming they were prioritizing rebounding position. Wade clearly has no such excuse.
The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.
One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.
We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.
Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.
If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.
For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.
John Wall has been super, averaging 27 points and 11 assists while leading the Wizards to a 3-2 lead over the Hawks in the first-round.