Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Team: Detroit Pistons
2013-14 Per-Game Stats: 13.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.5 blocks, 12.5 PER
Eventually the Detroit Pistons are going to have to pull the plug on the Josh Smith experiment.
It isn't working, even though the team is currently holding down the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Pistons are allowing 1.2 more points per game than they're scoring, and they rank 19th in Basketball-Reference's simple rating system, indicating that they won't be competitive even if they make the playoffs.
One of the main reasons is J-Smoove.
The former Atlanta Hawks simply hasn't seen a shot that he doesn't like. Despite shooting a vomit-inducing 26.9 percent from beyond the three-point arc, he's still lofting up 4.3 triples per game. On top of that, he's shooting only 43.7 percent inside the arc, and he's made just 54.3 percent of his attempts at the charity stripe.
As Joey Yashinsky writes for DeadlineDetroit.com:
The errant threes, the extra-long free throws, the sketchy body language, the backbreaking lane violation for no reason whatsoever; that’s who Josh Smith is. It’s what he’s always been. And whether you like it or not, he’s probably not changing anytime soon.
It's quite clear that Smith just doesn't work next to both Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. It's either Monroe or Smith who must be on the move if Detroit wants to maximize its potential, and Smoove still has more value.
In the right system—a disciplined one that actually forces him to remain semi-close to the basket—he'd blossom into an All-Star. If not something better.
Smith has proven year after year that he can't control himself, so he needs to be on a team that can do it for him. The Pistons, especially under a first-year head coach, are clearly not the right fit.
Most Likely Deal
Chicago Bulls receive: Josh Smith
Detroit Pistons receive: Luol Deng
The Bulls no longer have to worry about whether or not to keep Luol Deng once he becomes a free agent. Instead, they can use a high-potential forward who would thrive in Tom Thibodeau's defensive systems and strict offense.
As for the Pistons, can you imagine a lineup or Brandon Jennings, Rodney Stuckey, Luol Deng, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond?