Apparently the slow building process with one of the better young front lines in the NBA wasn’t g0ing fast enough for the Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons have reached out for the biggest name free agent left on the board and have agreed to a four-year, $56 million deal with Josh Smith, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. It’s not a surprise, the Pistons were in early with a hard push to get Smith, and that is the large contract he wanted. Atlanta never really made any effort to bring Smith back.
Smith, 27, averaged an impressive 17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.2 steals a game last season. Yet with Detroit this is an odd fit.
Smith is best suited at the four — he shot 72 percent in the restricted area last season and a weak 31 percent everywhere else — but the Pistons already have a promising front line of Greg Monroe at the four and Andre Drummond at the five. This means either Monroe comes off the bench or, more likely, Smith will play the three. Except that will just destroy the team spacing because no team needs to respect Smith or Monroe or Drummond outside five feet. This gives Smith more of a green light to take midrange jumpers and threes that he just does not hit enough of.
However, this should make the Pistons a better defensive and rebounding team — that is a big front line that will protect the paint. Smith is also fantastic on offense in transition if the Pistons decide to run (they were bottom 10 in the league in pace last season).
This move has Joe Dumars written all over it. The Pistons got more talented, but the fit and high cost make this a questionable move.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.