What would we have to give up? How much is too much? Is that hole at power forward really that important?
So, before you decide to go all-in for J-Smoove, take a look at this old, but very good article, about the career arc of players in their "prime," and the ability to adjust to the aging process.
Go on. I'll wait. When you get back, hit the jump.
And now, a pretty picture! Hurray! Six years into his career, here's the graph on Josh Smith:
There should be a few questions that this article and this graph raise.
How long will Smoove's prime last?
It is a fact that size ages better than athleticism. Players simply don't get smaller with age. Also, playing undersized at the bigger positions has been demonstrated to shorten a player's career. Smith's game is predicated almost entirely on his athleticism.
Generously listed at 6'9" and 225 lbs, Smith is the definition of an undersized Power Forward.
How high is his ceiling?
In the article, you notice that all the superstars career arcs started out low, and increased steeply over the first 3-5 years of their careers. Look at Josh's. It starts really high for a rookie, but it just barely trends upward over the next few years.
Of course, we don't know the reason for this. It could be a lack of coaching. The Hawks front office seems to have blamed the coaching this past offseason. If you studied the Hawks at all this past year, you know that they ran one of the simplest offenses (the Iso-Joe), and the simplest defenses (a box zone with Horford checking the opponent's best big man).
It could be the lack of a proper passing point guard. Mike Bibby is a fine isolation scorer, who won't beat his own team with bad playcalls or too many turnovers, but he has never been regarded as a good player at creating for his teammates. A year or two with Nash might send his numbers soaring. But what happens when Steve Nash leaves?
That high start hints at a high ceiling, but the rest of that line says that this is as good as he's ever going to be.
Does he have the ability to adapt his game to the process of aging?
Looking at the graph, there isn't any evidence of it thus far. Given his reliance on quickness and leaping ability, he is going to have to adapt sooner rather than later. It remains to be seen whether he's even capable of doing so.
Are a few highlight dunks this year really a good enough reason to mortgage the future of the team for a player whose career arc predicts that he will fall out of relevance in just a few years?