Old Team: Atlanta Hawks
New Team: Detroit Pistons
Role: Starting forward
Best Case Scenario: A scenario where Josh Smith shuts down his three-point and mid-range shot to use his unrivaled 6 foot 9 athletic frame for driving; to either score or pass is a fine scenario. Smith has a career high in field goal percentage, as a result of operating with the ball less because of Greg Monroe post ups, Jennings pick-and-rolls, and Billups directing traffic. The Detroit Pistons become a top 5 rebounding team — the fusion of lineups that include Smith, Monroe, or Drummond, who all averaged over seven rebounds per game last season, create problems on the glass for opposing front-courts. His defense is overlooked when his overall play is discussed, mainly due to his shot selection. Smith receives honors for All Defensive Second Team and Detroit earns a playoff berth.
Worst Case Scenario: Josh Smith relies on his outside shot for the season, thus creating rigid spacing problems. Teams begin to sag off of him and as result congests the rest of the court, along with ruining offensive flow. The Smith-Monroe-Drummond front-court fails owing to the fact that neither of the three have reliable range from 12 to 17 feet to extend defenses. The Pistons have difficulty winning against the teams in the Central Division and miss the playoffs.
What Will Really Happen: Barring injuries, Josh Smith is the main ingredient to the Pistons transforming into a league-average defensive team. Smith’s ability to defend positions 2 through 4, minimizes some, not all, of Detroit’s defensive deficiencies and they get close to league-average defensively. J-Smoove, who is a slick passer, averages four assists per game for the second consecutive season. Smith will fall in love with dump off passes to Drummond and Monroe. The spacing problems will be a lingering issue for Detroit, however the Pistons secure the eighth seed.