Why Does Josh Smith Get So Much Playing Time?


At 3-16 and 14th in the weaker Eastern Conference, Detroit Pistons fans everywhere have to be wondering what the biggest problem for this team is. Ever since signing a 4 year, $54 million deal before the 2013-2014 NBA season, that huge problem has been Josh Smith.

Though he’s not the only problem of this team, he’s easily the biggest problem. He plays lazy defense, jacks up way too many shots, and clogs up the paint with his presence. He’s doing all of this and more (or less?) at a terrible rate and efficiency. He leads the Pistons in FGA (Field Goal Attempted) at a disgusting 37.3%. The only thing worse than his FG% is easily his 23.1% from 3 point land. He’s also shooting a mere 47.4% from the free throw line.

His lazy defense and ball watching abilities are at top of its peak too. He leaves his man wide open at the 3 to constantly try and get the weak side block. There’s a reason Smith’s man always seems to get wide open looks.

More from Detroit Pistons

Why though?

Why does he get so much playing time even though it’s so obvious that he’s horrible? In the 19 games he’s played in he’s started all 19 games. He’s second in the team in minutes averaging 33.4 MPG. He starts over Greg Monroe and has a usage percentage of 25.5%.

There is no logical answer to why Josh Smith is getting so much playing time. The only potential reason could be to showcase Smith in a potential trade. Sacramento’s been known as been interested in Smith and would be a solid compliment to DeMarcus Cousins.

Except there’s no point in showcasing a player like Smith who’s struggled so mightily this season. So that theory doesn’t  make much sense. Even though the Pistons are looking to trade Smith there’s no point if he’s going to be one of the worst offensive players in the league.

Besides a potential trade, there seems to be no logical reasoning behind playing Smith so much. Van Gundy’s effort to get him even more playing time is abysmal.

After witnessing the failure known as the Big 3 lineup last season there is no reason Head Coach Stan Van Gundy should have rolled with it for as many games as he did. It doesn’t work and the rest of the NBA knows that. Though Van Gundy has since abandoned it he’s still starting Smith over Monroe.

Dec 2, 2014; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Greg Monroe (10) shoots over Los Angeles Lakers center Jordan Hill (27) during the third quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Even though Monroe signed the qualifying offer of $5.5 million and may not be a part of the Pistons’ future, there is no reason he should be benched for Smith. Playing with an actual wing who can space the floor will help Monroe into a reliable offensive contributor.

At some point in the season Van Gundy has to stop playing Smith. He’s toxic on the court and has no reason starting over some players. At 14th in the Eastern Conference the Pistons should be developing their young talent for the future. Players like Andre Drummond, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Spencer Dinwiddie are the keys to the future.

Josh Smith should be nowhere in the Pistons’ plans going forward past his contract. So Van Gundy’s willingness to continue playing him whilst this rough stretch is even more mind-boggling than it originally seems.

Now, your thoughts. Why do you think Josh Smith continues to get so much playing time? Do you think Van Gundy has some master plan we’re unaware of? No matter your answer, unless there’s a logical reason that Smith should get playing time he should ride the bench until he’s (rarely) needed.