Smith wasn’t named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team Thursday night. That makes eight consecutive years he hasn’t been honored. Most of those seasons, nobody could argue. But this season’s omission is a huge injustice.
Smith has been a consistent performer this season, with only a few hiccups. He has been forced to take on a bigger role with the loss of center Al Horford to injury. He has been more of a team player, more under control — and, yes, smarter.
In fact, a case could be made that Smith has been the Hawks’ best player and the biggest reason they’ve overcome injuries to Horford and backup center Jason Collins and started the season 17-9.
That’s no disrespect to Joe Johnson but Smith has been the team’s difference-maker this season.
Even TNT’s Charles Barkley took up the argument for Smith, saying on the network’s All-Star show Thursday night, “Josh Smith deserved to make the All-Star team. … Josh Smith has been the best player on the Atlanta Hawks this season.”
Josh Smith says he expected not to make the All-Star team after getting his hopes up last year. He is however, devastated, that none of his teammates made the team and 2 non-playoff bound players (Jrue Holiday and Kyrie Irving) did.
Q. What do you think about the fact that there are no Hawks on the team?
A. Now that is a devastation. To have two people … that probably aren’t going to make the playoffs that are on the All-Star list, I feel that one of us should have made it, me or Al. I’ve seen stranger things happen. I can’t really worry about it or scratch my head on decision that the coaches made. It is what it is. Hopefully, me and Al (Horford) can take out our frustrations on the Eastern Conference teams from here on out.