It seems like the NBA world has been promised the emergence of Josh Smith for years.
Sure, he has good numbers and from time to time he has shown real flashes of brilliance. But he has yet to put it all together for a season and truly take his team on his shoulders and lead them.
Part of the problem with the Atlanta Hawks was that there was a load of pressure on the young forward. It was his hometown squad and he had played there since he was a teenager.
The hope around Detroit is that a change of scenery is going to unlock his massive potential.
Part of the trouble for Smith was that he was ill-suited to the offensive sets that the Hawks ran. Too often he was pushed outside due to the emergence of Al Horford as a post scorer.
In Detroit, Smith will have many opportunities to get low post scoring touches.
Sure, at the outset of the season Smith will likely be starting at small forward which should push him to the perimeter.
But Smith will likely get plenty of opportunities to play down low when either Monroe or Drummond hit the pine. Smith typically will be the big man that remains in the game when one of the other players takes a seat and then the Pistons can shift to a more traditional lineup.
When Smith is with Drummond, he will be able to take over the post and let Drummond play off the hoop like he did at Connecticut.
When Smith is with Monroe, Moose will continue his role as the 16-18 foot high post player and let Smith control the paint.
Either way, this year will be essential to Smith's development. He needs to take control of this team as the veteran star.
Given the fact that Smith has been working out with Rasheed Wallace this off-season, hopefully he learns from Wallace's example and does the opposite of his mentor's example.
Wallace was famous for refusing to be "the man". Smith needs to be the man on this team and it would be ideal if Wallace recognizes this.