Atlanta Hawks: My Apologies To Josh Smith

Jack BenderCorrespondent IMarch 16, 2010

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 26:  Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks against Rashard Lewis #9 of the Orlando Magic at Philips Arena on November 26, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Dear Mr. Smith,

You probably are not going to here this from a lot of fans, sports talk radio guys, bloggers, etc. but I have to say that I was wrong.  I am not sure what happened, but you have totally reshaped your game and attitude over the course of the 2009-10 season.

Okay here it goes.  J-smoove, I am sorry...

...that I thought that the best starting line-up for the Hawks going into the 2009-10 season was to have you coming off the bench and Zaza Pachulia starting at center.

...that I refused to believe that you would stop shooting 3 point shots this season.  I still keep waiting for you to jack up a couple of long range bombs.  I want you to shoot a couple for old times' sake.  Now, you are refusing to shoot a 3 point shot, because people kind of want you to shoot one.  I like the stubbornness.

...that I lobbied for Coach Mike Woodson to take you out of games in crunch time and play a smaller line-up with Marvin Williams at the 4 spot, or to take you out and play Joe Smith beside Al Horford.

...that I figured the All-Star snub this year by the Eastern Conference coaches would send your game into a tailspin.  Instead of being churlish and resentful of Al Horford, you have been a one man wrecking crew in the last 6 weeks.  Your effort and consistency have never been better.

...that I wanted to trade you last year for Carmelo Anthony and this year for Amare Stoudemire or Chris Bosh.  Okay, I probably would still take Carmelo, but not the Carmelo that refused to go into a game last year.

...that I did not give you enough credit for your passing skills.  You have always been unselfish and you find open 3 point shooters, but this year the Coach Woodson is actually running the offense through you.  Whether you are posting on the right block or operating at the top of the key, you are making plays for your teammates. 

Others might gasp when they read this, but you are very close to commanding a double team in the post.  That bodes well for Hawks and their playoff aspirations.

...that I often question your ability to contain the ball when you are guarding someone man to man on the perimeter.  I do not see the blow bys by perimeter players that have happened in the past.  On a nightly basis, you are playing passing lanes and you still block shots from all over the place.  Are you finally listening to Coach Woodson? 

...that I wrote last year on this page that I could name 50 NBA players that I would take ahead of you in a draft of all the players in the Association.  You are playing at an All-Star level.  I even take back the notion that I would want Blake Griffin in your place.  You have two very athletic knees.

Okay, I do have one complaint still.  Why do you let the officials upset you so much?  Forget those guys (and one girl).  If you keep dominating on both ends of the floor, the officials will start giving you calls. 

You and the Hawks might need a call or two late in the 4th quarter in the playoffs against the Orlando Magic.  The great thing is that this year if you get that foul call and make some winning free throws, you will have earned it.

I know you do not care what others think, but you should congratulate yourself on your professionalism and level of play.  Good luck in the playoffs!