Josh Smith says Detroit disaster not all his fault

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When you’re as bad as the Pistons are right now — they couldn’t even beat the Sixers — it’s not just one thing. Life is simply not lived in black and white like that, it’s shades of gray.

Josh Smith wants you to know the disaster that is the Pistons is not all his fault.

He spoke with the Detroit News about this season (hat tip to Matt Moore of Eye on Basketball):

“I am an easy target to be able to blame. I’m very outspoken,” Smith said. “I’m an emotional player. I can easily be a target night in and out…

“If you played the game, if you know X’s and O’s, it’s not all my fault,” Smith said. “I’m not gonna say I’m perfect, by far, but I’m not the guy you can point the finger at. I’m a firm believer in you point one finger at one person, point three back at yourself.”

Josh Smith has been Josh Smith this season. On the 46 percent of his total shot attempts he takes inside eight feet he is shooting 55.7 percent. On the 54 percent outside that window he is shooting 29,9 percent, including 25.6 percent from three. However, because Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe have equally bad shooting from the outside, all three of them are trying to occupy the same space inside. When that happens Smith, in the small forward role, steps out on the perimeter. He has had to do that more and more this season as the Pistons continue to play the big three lineup in spite of the evidence of how poorly it works.

And that’s not even getting into Brandon Jennings. Or the defense.

But pointing the finger of blame at Smith is like blaming a cheetah for eating a gazelle — it’s what he does.

That said, the Pistons need him to get back to being more of a jack of all trades, a guy who can defend inside and out, who can run the court, a guy that is a matchup nightmare.

Detroit’s big mistake was putting the roster together this way. Yes, we’re looking at you Joe Dumars, this roster is why you may well be unemployed as of this summer. We all had spacing question the second the Smith signing was announced, although nobody thought their issues would be this severe. Josh Smith is part of that but he’s right, he’s not all of it.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.

Pacers president Kevin Pritchard likes tweets critical of Paul George trade

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Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard was widely panned – including by me – for trading Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

Oops.

Oladipo and Sabonis are killing it while George has underwhelmed.

Upon George’s return to Indiana, Pritchard took the opportunity to gloat. The Pacers general manager recently liked these tweets (hat tip: Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation):

This is petty – and I love it. Pritchard earned the victory lap.

Report: Rival executives still expect Paul George to leave Thunder for Lakers

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Paul George has been pretty open about his plans.

He told plenty of people – including the Pacers – he planned to leave for the Lakers in the summer of 2018. Even after the Thunder traded for him, George spoke of the lure of playing for his hometown team.

Of course, George also left the door open to re-signing with Oklahoma City. He proclaimed he’d be dumb to leave if the Thunder reached the conference finals or upset the Warriors.

So far, Oklahoma City (12-14) doesn’t even look like a playoff lock, let alone a team capable of knocking off Golden State or reaching the conference finals. So, cue the inevitable speculation.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

Rival execs still expect Paul to head for the Lakers in free agency

Do these executives have inside information into George’s thinking, or are they just speculating based on already-available information? Some executives are incentivized to drum up the Lakers threat, because they want to trade for George themselves now. If these executives insist George will leave for Los Angeles regardless, they might pry him from Oklahoma City for less.

There’s also a theory George is hyping his desire to sign with the Lakers so a team would have to trade less for him. That got him to the Thunder for what looked like a meager return (but hasn’t been). It might get him to a more favorable situation before the trade deadline without hampering his next team long-term. Of course, this theory isn’t mutually exclusive with George actually signing in Los Angeles. It could just get him better options to choose from this summer.

Surely, the Thunder are trying to parse all this noise. If their season doesn’t turn around, they should explore flipping George rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer. But they should also be wary that he’ll bolt for Los Angeles at first opportunity just because rival executives predict it.