At the season's midpoint, it's safe to say the Josh Smith era in Detroit isn't going so well.
Did you catch it in the first quarter of the Dallas Mavericks game Sunday? Smith backed down Shawn Marion on the left block, turned around and launched a contested fadeaway with 12 seconds left on the shot clock. The ball hit the backboard and caromed off out of bounds. That wasn't notable. What was notable was that it bounced off the top of the backboard. Yes, the top.
But that wasn't even the worst Josh Smith misfire of the season. That probably came Jan. 8 against the New York Knicks when he sized up Carmelo Anthony on the right elbow and unfurled a potential game-winning long 2 that looked as if it hit a wind gust midair and landed about three feet short of the rim. There was no wind gust. Just gasps from the Madison Square Garden audience.
That shot has been the microcosm of the Detroit Pistons' season so far: aiming high, falling way short. Smith, signed by longtime Detroit GM Joe Dumars this offseason for $54 million, has been the worst version of himself. There is nothing more deflating to a fan base than an ill-advised jumper. This long has been a Smith specialty, but his jump-shooting ability from deep has reached its nadir this season as the Pistons try to find some spacing with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.