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Are we underestimating the Hedo Turkoglu effect on Josh Smith?

April 22, 2011

Could it be? As we all get frustrated by the general lackluster play of Hedo Turkoglu, perhaps we aren’t paying enough attention.  He IS being guarded by one of the better wing defenders in the league in Josh Smith and is giving up somewhere around 528% percent in the athleticism department.  Maybe we aren’t giving Hedo enough credit for the work he is doing on the defensive end.

In the 5 games that Turk has played against Smith this season, Josh has averaged 14.8 points per 36 minutes in the regular season (3 games) and 13.6 per 36 in the playoffs (2 games).  For the season, Smith averaged 17.3 per 36.

Looking further, Hedo has for the most part been able to keep Josh Smith and his body language from getting all the way to the rim for easy shots.  

Josh Smith vs Hedo Turkoglu

 

Restricted Area

Paint   (Non RA)

Mid-Range

Corner-3

Other 3’s

vs Turk (5 games)

7-13

5-10

6-18

2-5

3-7

vs Turk Shooting %

53.9%

50%

33.4%

40%

42.9%

Season Average

66%

37%

39%

42%

29%

           

vs Turk Shot Distribution

24.6%

18.9%

34%

9.5%

13.2%

Season Shot Distribution

37%

12.6%

36.5%

4.8%

10%

 

43.5% of Josh Smith’s shots against Turk have come from inside the paint compared to his season average of 49.6%. Small difference overall, but the 13% delta with shots at the rim is relevant.  Making 10 footer over size is much preferred over a layup or dunk.  Of course having Dwight Howard manning the middle probably has a lot to do with these stats as well.

Even if Dwight is skewing the stats, it doesn’t change the point that Smith is being forced to score away from the basket significantly more than usual. That’s a very good thing for the Magic.

Limiting Atlanta’s second or third best scorer, on a team that is already offensively challenged is huge. If Turk can continue to play at least decent defense on Smith and force him into jump shots, the Magic will be in good shape.

Then again, Josh Smith could go off for 30 tonight and I could look like an idiot for getting carried away with the Stats Cube. We’ll see.

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