No, I’m not insane, and yes, that is a real sentence in the title.
I get that Josh shooting threes isn’t ideal, or an extremely efficient shot, but there are a lot of time where we’ve essentially set him up for this failure.
See that? He gets the ball with about four seconds left on the shot clock. It appears that the original play was to hit Korver under the basket, but Utah covered that perfectly, meaning the only person left in a reasonable position to catch the ball is… Josh Smith. He could have passed the ball to Teague, but a 30-footer from Jeff isn’t exactly a better option.
Now, there are some of you who are thinking, “I don’t care about those kind of plays where the shot clock is running down.” You have a fair point; Josh still does take some bad shots with plenty of time left on the clock. However, plays like the one below are becoming increasingly frequent:
As you can see, not only did Lou have a chance to pump fake and get and open three for himself, but then he gets into the lane, has a chance to either shoot a floater or attack Jefferson, but instead opts to kick it out to Josh with little time left on the clock.
Now, as you may have noticed over the past few weeks, the Hawks are near the bottom of the league in getting to the free throw line, and at actually making the attempts from the stripe. Plays like this are a huge reason why; instead of attacking the basket like Lou could have done there, he was looking too much to kick it out to a shooter. Of course, Josh is not the shooter you’d want to look for.
Of course, one could argue that Josh could have done the same thing there: attack the basket. But no, he really couldn’t, mostly because the floor spacing at the time wouldn’t allow him to. (this happens a lot) You could also say that he could have passed it to Korver on the other side of the court, but making a cross-court pass with that little time left isn’t exactly a feasible option.
Now, Devin Harris helped with this last night, but to me, it’s still one of the biggest issues facing this team. Having the plethora of shooters that the Hawks have is nice, but guys can’t be looking to kick it out every time they get into the lane. As we saw over the Hawks’ four-game losing streak, they’re not going to win a lot of games with this strategy if the shots aren’t falling.
Hopefully it’s something that continues to improve with Devin back, because I think he makes all of the Hawks’ players better when he is on the floor. Hopefully he gets a lot of time with Ivan on the floor, because those two worked extremely well together last night versus Utah. (that’s a hint, Coach Drew)