Josh Smith’s numbers may be slightly down this season, but his Atlanta Hawks are playing some great basketball, and Smith has been a significant part of the success.
The Hawks are keeping pace with the Miami Heat in the Southeast Division. They’re 14-7 on the season, putting them just one game behind LeBron James and company.
A large part of Atlanta’s success has come from the defensive end, and that’s where Smith has been terrific this season. As a team, the Hawks are allowing just 94.1 points per game, the seventh-best number in the NBA.
Smith has always been a terrific defensive player, and he’s been very active on that front again this year. He’s averaging 2.1 blocks and 1.4 steals per game, and it’s not like he’s been a slouch on the offensive side of things either.
The power forward is averaging 16.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.7 assists on the season, and there’s every reason to expect those numbers could continue to rise as the year progresses. Smith is shooting 44.1 percent from the floor, which is his lowest mark since the 2006-2007 season. If he can get more efficient in that respect, that scoring average will skyrocket.
All in all, there’s no doubting Smith’s overall talent level, which would explain why his name is constantly being brought up in trade rumors around the league. The Los Angeles Lakers have been mentioned as a possible destination, as he would likely fit with Dwight Howard in the post much better than Pau Gasol does at the moment.
However, Smith will remain with the Hawks for the foreseeable future, and with him and Al Horford still patrolling the frontcourt, they’re going to keep making money with your NBA picks.
Atlanta is sure to reach the playoffs again this season, but maybe this time they can actually make some noise once they get there.