NBA Trade Rumors: Josh Smith Would Make Brooklyn Nets a Dangerous Playoff Team
Per the USA Today report, the Hawks are still iffy on the proposal and the Nets aren't willing to throw in an additional second-round pick at the moment.
But it's an enticing proposition for the Nets.
Imagine the Nets with Deron Williams at point guard, Joe Johnson at shooting guard, Gerald Wallace at small forward, Smith at power forward and All-Star Brook Lopez at center. That's certainly not a bad starting five.
Brooklyn is already 32-22 headed into Wednesday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Nets have gone on a surge ever since P.J. Carlesimo took over for the fired Avery Johnson, including recent wins over the Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets. With an upgrade at the power forward spot, Brooklyn could go deep in the playoffs as soon as this season.
Is Smith a max player, like he claims? No, I don't believe so. But he's a do-it-all player who can score, rebound, play disruptive defense and even find his teammates. He's averaging 17.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.2 steals while shooting 46 percent from the floor. He's also registered a PER of 17.8, via Basketball-Reference.com. All those numbers are fairly congruent with Smith's career marks.
In the playoffs, Smith has averaged 15.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1.2 steals. That includes a PER of 17.3 (although he's averaged a PER of 15.6 in his past two seasons in the playoffs).
Would Josh Smith make the Nets dangerous in the playoffs?
It's worth noting that Smith has shot about 40 percent in his past two seasons in the playoffs. On the other hand, he averaged 13.6 rebounds in five playoff games last season against the Boston Celtics.
The point is, Smith wouldn't need to shoot as much with the Nets. He could focus on doing all the little things.
The biggest determinant in the Nets' success with Smith in the lineup would be the team chemistry. Would Smith be able to mix with the Nets—particularly Lopez—in the interior? And don't say he could space the floor with mid-range jump shots because we all know how that would turn out.
I think the work Carlesimo has done in Brooklyn speaks for itself. I could see Smith playing a specific role on the Nets and making them stronger in the process.
If the chemistry worked, the Nets would be dangerous in the postseason. They wouldn't be a title team this season, but they would certainly make things interesting with more defense on the floor.
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