It was still anybody’s game — Atlanta led by 5 with 3:10 left when Josh Smith took a three against the Pacers Monday night and you could hear the entire Phillips Arena do the same thing:
Smith made that shot and that’s what he’ll remember. So he’ll shoot it again and again. And miss the vast majority of them.
After the game Al Horford admitted that the Hawks players shake their heads at Smith’s shot selection sometimes, as reported by Sekou Smith of NBA.com.
“This was definitely one of those ‘ooh, aah’ moments with Josh,” Al Horford said. “He gives you those ‘oohs’ and then those ‘aahs.’ It’s kind of a ‘Yes’ and then ‘No’ thing going on. That’s the way it is. I think [the fans] obviously want Josh to be successful. Everybody loves him here. Sometimes we do question his shot selection. But tonight he hit some big shots down the stretch, made some huge plays for other guys down the stretch and made plays to help us win this game. I know it might drive some people a little crazy. But it works for us and that’s just the way it is.”
It works for them sometimes.
The numbers paint a very clear picture: inside 8 feet this season Smith shot 62.2 percent; from 8 to 16 feet out he hit 23.3 percent; from 16 to 24 feet 32.4 percent. He shot 72 percent at the basket in the restricted area this season and not better than 32 percent in any area outside it. He shot 30.3 percent from three this season but still took 2.6 shots per game from there, a career high.
Smith doesn’t play to his own strengths and it’s frustrating. But the he puts together a string of play like he did at the end of the Hawks win over the Pacers Monday night and you are reminded there are not many players like him out there — 6’9” with athletic gifts that let him run the floor, good court vision and the ability to make plays. He had 29 points and was key to the Hawks tying the series.
But if he wants to take threes, the Pacers will let him do that all night long in Game 5.
Duke is stacked this coming season. STACKED. They should have three lottery picks in next year’s draft. (Does that mean they are the team to beat in the NCAA? That’s not the way basketball works. But that’s another discussion.)
Duke is in Toronto for a series of preseason exhibition games, and at the end of the workout likely No. 1 pick next June, R.J. Barrett tried to show off by almost dunking from the free throw line.
Then freak of nature Zion Williamson showed him how it’s done.
That’s worth more looks.
Damn Zion is a freak of nature. Can we just put him in the next dunk contest now?
Whenever we discuss women assistant coaches in the NBA, the topic is usually Becky Hammon getting job interviews or being moved to the front row of seats in San Antonio. Occasionally it’s a discussion of Nancy Lieberman’s job in Sacramento — or the fact she is now a head coach in Ice Cube’s Big3 — or Jenny Boucek in Dallas.
However, when Lieberman discussed women coaches on the CBS Sports Network, she was asking a bigger question:
Who steps up next?
She has discussed the NBA version of the “Rooney Rule” before. Currently, it’s not anywhere near becoming a reality, whatever you think of the idea.
However, there needs to be real opportunities for women to get a foot in the NBA door, and more of them. Including at the entry level. There are qualified women out there, but it can be tough to crack the “old boy’s network” of the NBA coaching carousel — head coach and assistant. It exists in part because head coaches (and GMs) usually hire people they trust and worked with before, and right now those are men. Give women a chance at those entry-level positions and the dynamic starts to change.
Lieberman has been a groundbreaker her entire career. She and others are doing in the NBA again, but she’s right, the big win is changing the dynamic for the next generation. And the one after that.
Spencer Dinwiddie has worked hard at his game — I remember seeing him struggle some at his first Summer League and someone I trust telling me “watch this guy, he’s got the drive, he will make it” — and he is now a solid rotation NBA point guard that Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson can trust. He averaged 12.6 points per game last season with an above-average PER of 15.9.
He’s also on a steal of a current contract, so it makes sense the Nets are picking that up (it technically didn’t have to be guaranteed until Halloween). Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN had the report.
Next summer, Dinwiddie is a free agent. While he’s not going to break the bank, he’s a young, solid backup point guard that a lot of teams could use and he’s going to get a nice pay raise.
From the moment it became clear Carmelo Anthony was going to join the Rockets — which was a long time before he actually signed the contract on Monday — the questions started:
Would he accept a reduced role with the Rockets? Maybe come off the bench? Be Olympic ‘Melo and blend in with the team?
Coach Mike D’Antoni said he spoke with Anthony and said the player is open to coming off the bench, but he’s not sure what ‘Melo’s role will be. When ambushed by TMZ trying to walk to his car, Anthony said basically the same thing.
“Let’s just let it play out, though. I don’t even know what’s going on. I just signed, let it start first.”
Anthony coming off the bench, being the fulcrum of the offense when James Harden and Chris Paul are on the bench makes some sense (CP3 and Harden are better and more efficient shot creators than Anthony at this point). It’s a chance for Anthony to get his touches and help the other two rest. However, the idea of Anthony starting the first and third quarters and getting heavy touches then but sitting more later is not out of the question.
At the end of close games, D’Antoni is more likely to lean on James Ennis — a long, switchable defender who can shoot threes in the Trevor Ariza mold — than Anthony. It will be just a better fit. Will Anthony roll with that? Will it cause problems in the locker room?
Let’s just let it play out.