The Wrong Atlanta Hawks Are All-Stars

I guess I shouldn’t say “wrong,” because Joe Johnson and Al Horford have made nice cases for the NBA All-Star game.

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But here’s the problem: the clear best player on the Hawks — the guy who simultaneously has the highest player efficiency rating on the team and is a leading candidate for Defensive Player Of The Year — was not selected to the All-Star Game. I’m talking about Josh Smith, a.k.a. J-Smoove.

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Those who are paying attention understand that the key to the Hawks’ improvement has been the maturation of Smith. Don’t like stats? Let me allow SB Nation’s Hawks blog Peachtree Hoops to explain it to you.

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If Al Horford is the rower, the guy who always will keep the team moving through sheer force of will, and Joe Johnson is the motor who consistently powers the team through at a steady pace. Well Josh Smith is the sail. When the wind is blowing right for him, this team flies and it looks effortless. And this season. It has been a constant damn wind gust. Josh Smith takes over games. He changes games. Josh makes horrible games worth going to. He almost single-handedly makes Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford’s defense a non factor most nights. Read that sentence again. It is true. Josh Smith is having a career year, and he should be an all-star. Hell, the all-star game was invented for people like Josh Smith. God is pissed.

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Unfortunately, because fans want to see a gimpy Kevin Garnett, Smith won’t get his chance unless there’s an injury. Too bad. Smith’s in-game dunks would be way more fun.

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