Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Josh Smith is shooting the most threes of his career, and it's not going well.
If there has been one game this season that properly demonstrated both the pros and cons offensively of Smith's move to small forward, perhaps it was the Pistons' matchup with the Houston Rockets.
For most of the game, Smith was matched up against Chandler Parsons and Omri Casspi, who give up considerable strength defensively as natural small forwards. At times, Smith exploited the mismatch.
With seven minutes, 33 seconds left in the first quarter, Smith posted post up Parsons about 12 feet from the basket, received the ball, took one dribble baseline and finished at the rim while drawing the foul.
With 3:43 remaining in the second, Smith posted up Casspi, scoring on a lefty hook shot from the left block. The very next trip down the court, he posted up at the same spot, this time beating Parsons for a layup.
For the game, Smith made 6 of 11 field goals from within eight feet of the basket and got to the line seven times. He also made two of his three shots from eight to 16 feet.
However, from beyond 16 feet, Smith missed all six of his attempts, including two three-pointers. There was a jumper with 8:15 to go in the third quarter from one step inside the arc, taken with 17 seconds remaining on the shot clock. And with 7:05 remaining in the third quarter, Smith took a contested corner three with 10 seconds left to shoot.
For the season, Smith has shot more perimeter shots than ever before in his career, but he has no reason for taking them; he's attempting 4.1 threes per game (his previous career high was 2.6) yet making just 26.1 percent. But from within five feet of the basket, he's been great, shooting 66.9 percent, per NBA.com.
For the Pistons, I wish that Smith would stop settling for outside jumpers, and that he would realize how good he can be down low against small forwards.