Whether you know him as "J-Smoove" or simply "Atlanta's own", Josh Smith has been a fixture in the Atlanta Hawks organization since he was drafted 17th overall in the 2004 NBA Draft. He won the Slam Dunk Contest as a rookie, was a member of the 2010 All-Defensive second team and at age 24 became the youngest player to record 1,000 blocks. Despite his amazing slam dunks and his defensive prowess, one has to wonder if it's time for the Hawks to get rid of the kid from College Park, GA.
In Smith's sophomore season, the Hawks aquired Joe Johnson. Smith may have been the hometown player, but Johnson appeared to get most of the acolades having been selected to six straight All-Star games. With the new GM Danny Ferry trading Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets and Marvin Williams to the Utah Jazz, making it clear that this was now Josh's team.
But in the 2012-13 season, Smith's statistics haven't dramatically improved. While he is currently averaging a career-high 18.8 points per game, it's only a slight improvement from his career average of 15.1. Throughout his career, Josh has been known to take many ill-advised shots (primarily three-point attempts). It's become to routine that when he lines up for a three-point shot (he has a career average of .278 from beyond the arc) you can often hear fans at Philips Arena either gasping or yelling out in unison for him to not take the shot.
Smith has missed two other games this season due to health. Both of those games that Hawks won. The first one was against the Oklahoma City Thunder in OKC. For the record, The Thunder's home record this season is an incredible 19-3.
The second Smith-less game came against Indiana in December 29th. Smith was injured again but the Hawks defeated the Pacers 109-100.
With Atlanta's 109-95 victory over the Brooklyn Nets (where Josh was inactive on account of "conduct detrimental to the team"), the question now becomes: Does Atlanta really need Smith around?
The rest of the team appears to have no trouble adjusting when Smith isn't an option on the court. Ivan Johnson and Zaza Pachula did a great job at the power forward spot against Brooklyn with Zaza needing only two assists to record a triple double.
Now showing that this team has not only compete with other playoff teams, but beat them without Josh, don't be surpsuised to hear of the Hawks shopping Smith around in the coming weeks.