Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dwight Who? Andre Iguodala And Josh Smith Shake Up The NBA

It's a shame that so many media figures are devoting this much attention to the Dwight ordeal in Los Angeles, while several other notable, NBA landscape changing transactions were reported with very little interest.

My feelings on the matter is this: Blasphemy.  Basketball blasphemy.

Do Dwight Howard's indecisions that led him to Houston morph the Western Conference power ladder? Yes, but Andre Iguodala's decision to sign with Golden State and Josh Smith's recent decision to head to Detroit are also league-impacting signings that should not be overlooked because they mean that Detroit and Golden State are back on the map (amongst other things).  

A few years ago neither one of them would've signed with these squads.  Truth!

In my opinion when all is said and done, the biggest free agent signing won't even be Dwight Howard's penmanship in Texas, it's going to be Iggy's in Oakland.

Think about this: The Warriors are easily the most promising up and coming contender in the NBA, and that was before they lost out in the Dwight sweepstakes and signed AI last week instead.  With maybe "the best shooting backcourt of all time" at only 25 (Curry) and 23 years old (Thompson), as well as a top-3 PF in David Lee (led the league in double-doubles last season), they were already primed to be a formidable Western Conference contender for years to come without any big additions.  If they were missing anything offensively last season it was arguably someone who could create his own shot and take some pressure off of Curry when he got stuck in double teams.  Iggy fills that role perfectly, but that just scratches the surface of his abilities. 

Lots of players can create their own shots, but his ability to finish on the break and attack the boards as a wing player is second to none.  What's more is that his offense is arguably not even his strong point because he's a defensive nightmare that has the length and athleticism to match up at almost 4 positions on the court. He's also battle and playoff-tested, averaging 14.4 ppg and 6 rpg in more than 40 postseason starts over his 9 year career.  Iggy's also won a gold medal for Team USA, and he was a first-time All-Star last season.

Cha-Ching! That's the sound of the Warriors cashing in on AI and if I'm Mark Jackson I have to be pleased.  However, they failed to resign PG Jarrett Jack who was vital to their postseason run a few months ago.

I'm not saying that Golden State will be more talented than the Harden-Howard-Parsons triplet in Houston, I'm just saying don't be surprised.

What was incredibly surprising was Josh Smith's move to Motown (or "No-town" based on their recent playoff appearances).

Given that Detroit is not nearly as "contender-ready" as Golden State, they have an extremely talented team that's just been plagued by growing pains due to their youth.  But even though the average age on the team is a young 25 year old, there are loads of talent on the squad from top to bottom starting with their front court.  

Greg Monroe has the potential to be a top-3 center in this league and he's only 23.  At 6-11 250lbs., he's built like Al Horford, but has a more polished post game a-la David West.  Now I know those are big comparisons, but in his third season he averaged 16 points and almost 10 boards a contest.  If the Pistons can continue to develop Andre Drummond into a paint-controlling machine (averaged almost 8 pts., 8 boards., and 1.6 blocks in only 20 mpg. last season), Monroe and Drummond alone would be a nice tandem for the Pistons' future, but they've also got a front court prospect in PG Brandon Knight (13 ppg, 4 apg) and they just picked up highly-touted Rookie swingman, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, out of Georgia.  

When you add the 25x All-Star Snub Josh Smith into the mix along with new Head Coach, Mo Cheeks, I'm looking at a very athletic, potentially playoff-bound Detroit Pistons Squad next year.  

Smith is a guy that makes everyone on the court a better player because he's an intangible guy that makes the game easier for his teammates.  JSmoove can rebound on both ends of the floor, shoot the ball, attack the rim, defend the rim, post-up on the block, isolate on the wing, finish the fast break, etc.  He honestly might be the most underrated NBA athlete over the last decade, sporting career averages of 15.3 ppg., 8 rpg., 3.1 apg., and 2.1 blocks without one All-Star appearance.  In fact, his best accolade is a modest NBA All-Defensive 2nd Team award in 2010 when he finished third in the league in total blocks behind Andrew Bogut and (you guessed it) Dwight Howard.  

Gerald Wallace was voted onto the All-Defensive Team in 2010 instead of Smith.  Oy vey.

Now I know that's a little early for predictions and NBA crazy talk, but I think the Pistons are playoff bound next season barring any injuries, and I'm expecting the Warriors to finish ahead of the Rockets at the end of the 2013-2014 regular season.

Boom! I said it.

Leave some crazy talk on the comments people!  What are you predicting?

Thanks for stopping by,

The Mattman

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Sheridan Hoops