Where Could Josh Smith Blossom into an NBA Superstar?

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterFebruary 23, 2013

Feb 20, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks small forward Josh Smith (5) dunks the ball against the Miami Heat during the second half at Philips Arena. The Heat defeated the Hawks 103-90. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we know Josh Smith will be in Atlanta for the rest of the season, the only question left is where he will end up this summer.

Smith was awfully close to becoming a member of the Milwaukee Bucks before the Hawks pulled out of three-way trade talks with the Orlando Magic and the Bucks. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Atlanta killed the deal just minutes before the deadline.

Would a Bucks jersey have been a good fit for Josh Smith?


Think about who Milwaukee currently employs at the 3 and 4 positions. Guys like Ersan Ilyasova and Mike Dunleavy are subpar athletes incapable of scoring on the move. Considering how fast Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis get up and down the floor, Smith's mobility would go hand in hand with what would surround him.

Milwaukee could still be a possibility for Smith this summer, and he'll certainly consider joining the Bucks, assuming the offer is on the table.

But what other potential suitors have the roster or makeup fitted for Smith's style of play?

The team that comes to mind is the Houston Rockets, who were reportedly interested in Smith at the deadline.

Houston is looking to add another star to pair with James Harden, and Smith would fit right in with Kevin McHale's style of offense.

According to John Hollinger's formula, the Rockets are ranked No. 1 in the NBA in pace. This is a team that pushes the tempo off makes or misses, stopped clocks or running ones.

If there's a way to avoid a half-court offensive possession, the Rockets will find it.

Josh Smith isn't a great half-court scorer. Creating offense with the game slowed down is just not his forte.

With two playmakers in the backcourt in James Harden and Jeremy Lin, Smith would let the guards do all the creating for him. The less Smith has to dribble, the more effective he is.

Smith would be a great get for Houston. It currently lacks athleticism on the wing with Chandler Parsons and Carlos Delfino, and the Rockets could use Smith's two-way skill set to finish plays offensively and make an impact on defense.

With the Rockets being recognized as a franchise on the rise, Smith could help put them over the top and gain superstar status for himself in the process.

Another potential suitor who would allow Smith to benefit individually would be the Dallas Mavericks, who have money to spend and plenty of needs.

Between Smith's slashing style and ability to finish at the rim, he'd be a nice complement to O.J. Mayo's perimeter-oriented offensive attack.

But this is more about the Dallas Mavericks franchise than it is about the roster.

Mark Cuban isn't an owner who's going to let this team stay out of the spotlight for long. Cuban understands how to build star power and has resources that a team like Atlanta can't offer.

Though other teams like the Phoenix Suns or even the Cleveland Cavaliers have the space to offer max dollars, Smith wouldn't be doing his brand a favor by signing with an organization that's years from relevance.

For Smith to become a superstar, he'll need to join a team on the fence and help push them over. Right now, the Houston Rockets look like they could use a little nudge.