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Is Josh Smith Hurting The Atlanta Hawks?

Josh Smith is good at dunking the ball, blocking shots and hustling. He isn't very good at shooting the ball, however, leading Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to wonder what the Atlanta Hawks forward is thinking following Atlanta's Game 2 loss to the Chicago Bulls.  In 36 minutes of playing time on Wednesday night, Smith scored 13 points, blocked four shots and grabbed six rebounds.

Unfortunately the 25-year-old took 14 shots to score those 13 points and turned the ball over four times in the meantime. Most disconcerting to Bradley, it seems, is the fact that Smith took -- and missed -- all seven of his shot attempts away from the rim despite a penchant for being able to do amazing things while he's at the rim.

Knowing that, and armed with the knowledge that HoopData put together letting us know that Smith made 69 percent of his field goal attempts "at the rim" this season compared to just 38 percent from three feet and beyond,  Bradley asks a pretty interesting question:

How good would Josh Smith be if he never took a shot beyond the lane? If he could content himself with being, say, Paul Silas? (Who was a great player on championship teams, let's recall.) Put another way, has there ever been a less effective jump shooter who persists in taking jump shots?

Granted, he'll make a few. He made a big one near the end of Game 1. But a Smith make often hurts the Hawks more than a Smith miss because it impels him to keep shooting.

So, have at it, Hawks fans: If Smith would focus more on what he's good at and less on what he's, well, not good at, how good could he end up when his career is complete?

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.