Earlier in the week the Detroit Pistons signed Josh Smith to a four year 56 million dollar contract. By my estimations, Smith was one of the best free-agents, but the Pistons overpaid for a bad fit.
Josh Smith will either take invaluable playing time away from budding prospects Greg Monroe or Andre Drummond, or play at small-forward where court-spacing will be non-existent. Josh Smith is likely better than both of these players in the moment, but Drummond and Monroe are the Pistons future, and the Pistons do not have a very optimistic present. Greg Monroe can be a breakout player this year, and showed an emerging post game and has the physical characteristics to man the power-forward spot for years to come for the Pistons. Andre Drummond showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie season before going down with an injury, and will need more minutes to fully blossom. Both of these players are simply too good to be on the bench in favor of Smith, and the Pistons front office seems to realize that. According to reports, the Pistons are likely to start Smith at small-forward, allowing Monroe and Drummond to start.
Problem solved? Nope. The Pistons will not be able to get away with playing Josh Smith at small-forward. Smith is a true power-forward, and will be unable to keep up with quicker and more agile forwards. Another reason Smith will struggle to be a stretch-three. Even though Josh Smith loves to shoot threes, he shoot a horrid 30% from deep.
The Pistons are simply too tall for their own good. Greg Monroe, at 6’11, is being forced to play power-forward so that a 7’0 Andre Drummond can play center. Todays game has evolved too where power-forwards should be able to shoot, and many are including Kevin Love and Ryan Anderson. Greg Monroe can get away without having even a mid-range jumper, but the Pistons would need a small-forward to compensate. With Josh Smith, they are in turn getting an inconsistent shooter with a questionable shot-selection.
On top of this, the Pistons massively overpaid to get “Smoove.” Although overpaying for free-agents is necessary in a smaller market like Detroit, paying Josh Smith 14 million a year is blasphemy. The Pistons will be strapped for cash in the foreseeable future, and will have a hard time finding more stars via free-agency.
(Kings of the NBA Journalist)