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Saturday September 20, 2008 4:38 pm

Dropping Dimes Mock Draft: Round 2, Pick 12 - Josh Smith

Josh Smith blockI need to admit something; I have a serious man-crush on Josh Smith. I do not mean the stalking or restraining order type of crush. It is a crush on Josh Smith’s stat-stuffing ways and what he can contribute to one’s fantasy b-ball team, especially in blocks.

I remember the fascination began in his rookie season. It was a cold December day and during my daily routine of reviewing basketball box scores, there was a game between Atlanta and Detroit and Josh Smith had four blocks. I remember reviewing his game logs prior to the Detroit game and noticed that he had registered at least a block in the four games and back then he was SG/SF-eligible which was an added bonus. I plucked Smith off the waiver wire and plugged him into the lineup. Later in the month, Josh Smith registered 10 blocks in a game at Dallas!! I guarantee Josh Smith was claimed off every waiver wire after the Dallas game. J-Smoove single-handled won the blocks category during my H2H match-up that week!

I was able to draft him in the following season and since then Josh Smith has eluded my fantasy team. This year might be the year that I will re-ignite the man-crush with Josh Smith. Have a peep and see why you should share my man-crush with J-Smoove.

Round 2, Pick 12 – Josh Smith, SF/PF, Atlanta Hawks

Josh Smith is a freak of an athlete with mad hops that propel him into the air to swat balls at an alarming rate. Josh Smith’s career average of 2.5 blocks/game has helped him become the youngest player in NBA history to reach 500 blocks, an accomplishment he reached in March of 2007.  Early in his career he was listed as a SG/SF which added to his fantasy appeal allowing owners to play a bona fide shot blocker at shooting guard. He is no longer SG-eligible; however having the option to plug in a premier shot blocker at the SF spot is still a nice luxury. J-Smoove’s mad hops also helped him evolve into a decent rebounder. His rebounding average has improved in each of his first three seasons and should continue to improve this year. I have a feeling that this could be the season that he flirts with a double digit rebounding average.

It is easy to fall in love with blocks but there are other parts to Josh Smith’s game that may not be as heralded. J-Smoove has improved his scoring, assists and steals each season. Last year, Smith averaged 17.2 points, 3.4 assists and 1.5 steals per game.  This year, expect that J-Smoove will continue his improvements to the tune of 19.1 points, 3.7 assists and 1.8 steals. 

There are lots of reason for optimism for Josh Smith this season. First he got a $58 million contract extension this off-season, so he is secure knowing that he is in Atlanta’s future plans. The second factor which will play a big part in the upcoming season is the “Mike Bibby” factor. Josh Smith will benefit greatly by playing with Mike Bibby for a whole season. Prior to the addition of Bibby, teams were keyed in defensively to stop Joe Johnson and Josh Smith. The result was that Josh Smith was taking bad shots and turning over the ball too often. Last season when the Hawks acquired Bibby, Josh Smith’s FG% improved and his turnovers dropped. With Bibby on the team, opponents could no longer just focus in on Johnson and Smith, which opened up a little more room in the offensive zone for the Hawks to work. Bibby assuming the role as the main ball handler for the Hawks has simplified Smith’s role. Josh is not needed to initiate offensive plays which directly cuts down on the turnovers. If only Smith would realize he should take less three-pointers; his FG% would undoubtedly increase further. 

Here is the bottom-line; Josh Smith will be a stat stuffer for your fantasy team. My prediction for him this year are as follows: 19.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.8 steals and 2.9 blocks with 46.5+ FG%. What is there not to love?

LeBron James teaming up with Josh Smith is a great fantasy pairing. You have LeBron stuffing the points, rebounds, assists and steals combined with J-Smoove stuffing the points, rebounds, steals and blocks. This makes for a fantasy nightmare when your opponent tries to match up. The next pick will be important since it will be 22 picks before the next player will be added to this team.

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