Potential Superstar To NBA Unwanted Man – Josh Smith’s Fall From Grace
Potential superstar to NBA unwanted man – Josh Smith’s fall from grace
It seems like yesterday that we were watching a young, athletic, exciting prospect in Josh Smith fly through the air and electrify the Slam Dunk Contest. However, sadly and surprisingly those days are far behind him. Coming into the league with expectation and potential, Josh Smith’s fall from grace has been as dismal as we could have imagined.
After being selected 17th overall by the Atlanta Hawks, Smith was projected as being a cornerstone for the franchise for many years to come, and after starting off promisingly, it has all be downhill from that point. Since starting in Atlanta, he has bounced around the league, with stints in Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles and back again at the Rockets in Houston. He has never surpassed 20 points per game or 10 rebounds per game with his best and highest season in 2011/2012 where he averaged 18.6 ppg and 9.6 rpg.
With things not working out in Atlanta, Smith entered the power struggle of patrolling the front court in Detroit alongside monster centre Andre Drummond. The Pistons had one of the biggest and most intimidating front courts in the league, however, many felt that Smith was hurting Drummond’s potential growth, by suffocating him in the paint. There wasn’t enough room for the both of them, which was the eventual reason the Pistons opted to stick with the upside of Drummond and offload Smith, a move which has improved the Pistons dramatically. It has turned out to be one of the best decisions their front office has made in recent years which has contributed to them entering the playoffs yet again.
After Detroit, there was murmurs Smith was a detriment to the locker room, and NBA teams feared that his lack of direction and erratic playing style would hurt franchises. He ended up transforming into one of the worst three point shooters the league has ever seen, but continued to take them anyway. He was stuck, with time evaporating Smith was already becoming an unwanted man.
Josh was given a lifeline when he linked up with the Houston Rockets, who have a reputation of trying anything in the hopes it will work out. After trying to fit in initially, Smith did have some good moments alongside James Harden and co. His brightest moment in a Houston jersey came in their 3-1 comeback against the Clippers in the Western Conference Semi Finals in the 2014/2015 postseason.
That was about as good as it got for Josh in Houston, as he soon departed for those very same Clippers he helped eliminate. The additions of Paul Pierce, Lance Stephenson, Wesley Johnson and Josh Smith gave the Clippers fans hopes to dream again, but it was all very underwhelming. After not fitting in the system as well as run ins with head coach Doc Rivers, Smith’s time in LA was short lived.
Moving on, the Rockets did what they always do, and took another chance on Smith, which failed yet again. Now, he finds himself without a home with training camp and the start of the NBA season fast approaching. It looks like no one wants to take a chance on Josh, with little to no interest whatsoever. His NBA career might look all but over at just 30 years of age.
Perhaps he may find a new lease of life in China, or maybe an NBA team can squeeze him somewhere within their roster.
One thing is for sure though, his career has panned out miles away from what was projected and expected. He finishes with a NBA All-Defensive Second team in 2010 as his highest achievement. A true fall from grace and another unfulfilled potential story.