Can Josh Smith Become an MVP Candidate?

Josh Smith facials Jermaine O’Neal.

Throughout his eight year career, Josh Smith has become known for his insane dunks, blocks, and questionable decision making. Year in and year out, Smith is on the brink of making it to the All-Star game but gets snubbed due to lack of votes from the fans and not being voted in by NBA teams. How can a player with no All-Star selections make a leap to MVP candidacy?

Each season, Smith has been making steady improvements on his all around game. The 2011-2012 campaign was his best, yet he still was not recognized as an all-star or an All-NBA talent. He averaged 18.8 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.7 blocks, and 1.4 steals. In short, the man is a stat-stuffer. Kevin Love, on a subpar team, was considered an MVP candidate for a period of time two seasons ago.  He scored more and averaged more rebounds, but his all-around game is not at Smith’s level. Yet, Smith, who is a key component in making Atlanta a playoff contending team each season, gets nothing.

Last year, Al Horford was hurt and Jeff Teague was getting his first taste of the starting lineup. In that time, Smith developed himself as a leader, which will be huge for the Hawks this season. With Joe Johnson gone, he will be the go to guy. He matured and his decision making improved greatly. With a completely different roster this year, (half of the team was on the Nets roster last season), his maturity and leadership will determine the success of the team.

The 2012-2013 season will be the biggest of Smith’s career. He is going to be the number one guy for the first time and his contract expires after this season. NBA teams will be watching him more closely to see how he performs. If he does well, he will get a nice contract offering from teams, including the Hawks. Also, what will come with that is he will finally be receiving attention he deserves. With more focus on him, NBA teams may finally select him for his first All-Star game and All-NBA team. If Smith falters, he will continue to get disrespect and there may be issues within the organization.

Depending on how Josh Smith does individually and where he leads the Hawks this year will determine what kind of recognition he receives. He may finally get the respect he deserves and some MVP chatter along the way.


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  1. Not many 7-8 seeds (my guess on where they will be next year) get an MVP candidate, but this is Smith’s team now that Joe Johnson is gone. Good stuff, Menua.

  2. Thank you. But if a below .500 team in the Wolves had one I think a more deserving candidate like Smith should get a consideration.

  3. I’m inclined to agree with DJ on this, that the Hawks will not finish high enough for Smith to get serious consideration, but I do agree with you Menua that Josh can definitely fill up a stat line and that his stats SHOULD put him in the conversation.

  4. I think he deserved consideration last season because of how he carried the team consistently throughout the year and they were a 4th seed. We shall see.

  5. No MVP for Smith, but maybe All-star this year. His game has been underrated. His decision-making has not.
    They should have been able to get more for Johnson. The Nets saw their desperation to get rid of a bad contract and took advantage.

    Half the team was on the Nets roster last year.
    (That statement is enough to make Hawks fans cut their own brake lines.)

  6. His decision making improved greatly. If he steps up, as I expect him to, he deserves to be considered. Whether he will or not is another question that isn’t in Smith’s control. Regarding the JJ trade, we should have gotten Brooks. I’m disappointed we didn’t but for the first time in a few seasons we have some cap room.

  7. That’s who I was reffering to when I said they needed to get more. Brooks would’ve been a nice addition in place of JJ (Jim Jackson?), lol.

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