Last night's game against the Nuggets kept making me think: would the Hawks be better without Josh Smith? Seeing Horford play PF and use his size and quickness advantage time and time again to the tune of a double double really enforced what everyone has been saying: that he is playing out of position. Now, I knew this was true for a while but my homerism may have blinded me to just how big a difference there is when he is at PF versus at C.
Al was able to use his inside and outside game in a balanced effort which made the defense play him honest. This, in turn, set him up for either open shots, easy rebounds, or quick put-backs time and time again.
So are the Hawks doing the team a disservice by playing him at the Center position with Josh at the 4. Now I know Josh *can* be a game changing PF but the question that keeps coming up to me is: could we get a reliable true Center or upgrade at PG for him. With Bibby and ZaZa coming off the books at the end of the year, we will have two holes to fill in a market that isn't exactly flourish with talent. While both have said they would like to stay, you never know how free agency will change their mindset.
Perhaps trading Josh for a true Center (maybe for Kaman and the Clippers draft pick) in the offseason would balance the roster a bit more and make the team more consistent. If we are going to play a slower paced game, we ought to get the talent on the floor to match that and Josh simply doesn't fit.
Don't get me wrong, I've been a huge Josh Smith fan since he came out and have forgave repeatedly the mental lapses. However, at a certain point the team has to look at putting the entire team in the best position possible and I wonder if we can do that while trying to start both Al and Josh. Additionally, with the emergence of Marvin, having a true PF (which Josh really isn't) and a true C (which Al really isn't) would free up more space for Bibby, Joe, and Marvin to work on the wings.
p.s. Flip should never guard Billups. Ever. Like not even while playing NBA 2k9. He got torched last night and the 37 FTs Billups took made me sad.