Josh Smith

Vital Info
Height: 6'9"
Weight: 225 lbs.
Position: Forward
Born: 12/5/1985
College: n/a
Drafted: 2004 - 1st Round, 17th Overall

Player Type: High-flying dunk machine who also shines on D
Strengths: Smith is one of the NBA's finest athletes, and this allows him to be a major factor on defense and in transition. Smith has always been an amazing shot-blocker, but in '07-08 he also ramped up his defense in the team concept, which made him one of the league's top overall defensive players. He's a good defensive rebounder as well, and has the quickness to pick up his share of steals. Smith's superior quickness is also one of his primary offensive assets, as he likes to use speed and athleticism to beat his man to the basket in transition or to finish inside on drives. He isn't a bad passer, either.
Weaknesses: The rest of Smith's offensive game is still lacking. He doesn't shoot jumpers effectively at all, and he doesn't handle the ball especially well, either. His jump shot is so poor, in fact, that he only bettered a 35.5 FG% from two areas: straight-on 3-pointers (of which he took just 16) and the immediate basket area. While Smith can create shots with sheer athleticism, they aren't always the highest-percentage looks, and he can be played off of and forced into taking long Js. Smith is also a mediocre offensive rebounder for a man with his athleticism.
Favorite shot: Jaw-dropping jam in transition.

Joe Johnson

Vital Info
Height: 6'8"
Weight: 225 lbs.
Position: Shooting Guard
Born: 6/29/1981
College: Arkansas
Drafted: 2001 - 1st Round, 10th Overall

Player Type: Durable 2-way guard who can create off the bounce
Strengths: Johnson emerged on the national stage during the playoffs, when he took over late in Game 4 of the Hawks' surprising series with Boston, showcasing the game he's been honing for the past 3 years in Atlanta. Johnson's best trait is his versatility -- he commands some of the finer skills of a point guard, including good court vision and ballhandling, but he's also 6-8 with solid strength and athleticism, to go along with a nice shooting stroke. He can knock down threes and midrange jumpers in both catch-and-shoot situations and off the dribble, and can shoot over smaller guards in the post. Defensively, Johnson is very good because he can match up with a variety of player types on the perimeter, although the Hawks don't ask him to man up on the opponent's best scorer very often.
Weaknesses: Johnson is a legitimate superstar who does a number of things well, but he's not without his flaws. He has a slow first step, so he doesn't penetrate (and, consequently, get to the line) as much as some other comparable scorers. Because of this, more of his 2-pointers were jumpers than ever, he shot just 45% on twos, and his shooting efficiency wasn't as high as it had been in recent years. Also, Johnson doesn't chip in a lot in non-scoring areas like rebounding, steals, or shot-blocking.
Favorite shot: Pull-up jumper off the screen-and-roll.

Quick Hits: Charlotte Bobcats

  • Derek Anderson has quietly stuck around well into his thirties after starting his career as a first-ish option on the Cavs, Clippers, and Spurs. After a decent season with Charlotte in 2007, he was plagued by injuries again in 2008 and saw a lot of DNPs upon returning from the IL. When healthy, he's still a decent veteran who can swing between SG and PG, but his shooting evaporated last year and he's really starting to show his age.
  • A second-round pick in 2007, Jermareo Davidson shot (and missed) too many jumpers for a 6-10 PF, and he got lit up defensively. He plays with energy -- he can block shots and rebound a little -- but he's too thin for the post at either end and his shot needs work. Some NBDL action would help.
  • Longtime vet Othella Harrington spent the early part of the season rehabbing after offseason knee surgery, and for the second straight year he never really cracked Charlotte's rotation. When he did get some game action, his shot deserted him, and it looks like he's probably headed for retirement.

Adam Morrison

Vital Info
Height: 6'8"
Weight: 205 lbs.
Position: Forward
Born: 7/19/1984
College: Gonzaga
Drafted: 2006 - 1st round, 3rd overall

Player Type: One-dimensional scorer
Strengths: As a rookie in 2007, Morrison showed he could create plenty of shots -- they weren't good shots, mind you, but shots nonetheless. He is a good shooter (not a great one, certainly not worthy of the Larry Bird/Dirk Nowitzki comparisons that were thrown at him in college), and will almost certainly improve on those horrid rookie shooting numbers with better shot selection. He is a solid ballhandler and passer, and he takes decent care of the ball. The overall package isn't as bad as the results were in his first NBA season.
Weaknesses: Morrison simply isn't an NBA-caliber athlete, and that really hampers his ability to make use of some of his basketball skills. He can shoot, but he can't really create high-percentage looks. He can handle the rock, but he doesn't have the burst or quickness to beat anybody off the dribble. He has decent size, but he can't rebound or block shots. He's generally an intelligent player, but he can't guard a soul. In other words, he's not suited to be an alpha dog at this level, and Charlotte would be advised to stop using him in that manner and just let him be a 2nd or 3rd option. And then there's the matter of the knee injury which cost him all of 2007-08... Since he wasn't reliant on speed or quickness beforehand, it probably won't hurt his game as much as it would other players, but it was just another setback for a guy who really couldn't afford one.
Favorite shot: Low-percentage fadeaway with a defender all over him.

Jeff McInnis

Vital Info
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 190 lbs.
Position: Point Guard
Born: 10/22/1974
College: North Carolina
Drafted: 1996 - 2nd round, 37th overall

Player Type: Sub-NBA caliber guard
Strengths: McInnis has nice size for a point guard, passes reasonably well, and is (theoretically) a capable ball-handler. Because of his height, he can dribble down court and shoot midrange jumpers (of which he hit 41.6% in '08, better than average) over smaller PGs.
Weaknesses: A graduate of Jail Blazer Academy, McInnis has a rep as a clubhouse cancer, and his poor attitude has cost him jobs with multiple NBA teams. He has no 3-point range and can't really shoot anything but 15-footers, which isn't the greatest recipe for efficiency (those shots are still worth only 2 points, of course, despite the increased difficulty). McInnis used to be able to create shots for himself and teammates without turning the ball over, but those days are long gone -- he struggled to get his shot off in 2008 and, worse yet, he became one of the biggest turnover machines in the league. He adds nothing on the glass at this point, doesn't steal or block shots, and is a poor defender. All told, McInnis was one of the least valuable players in the entire NBA last season, and he'll be lucky to catch on with any team this summer.
Favorite shot: Midrange jump shot.

Earl Boykins

Vital Info
Height: 5'5"
Weight: 135 lbs.
Position: Point Guard
Born: 6/2/1976
College: Eastern Michigan
Drafted: Not drafted

Player Type: Pint-sized playmaker
Strengths: Because of his superior quickness and ballhandling ability, Boykins can make it very difficult for defenders to stay in front of him on dribble drives, and he has great finishing instincts when he gets around the basket. Even with all the tall trees around him down low, Boykins still shoots a good percentage by hoisting it over them. Boykins also excels at drawing fouls when he drives, and he's a good free throw shooter. But he's not just a shoot-first point guard -- Boykins is also a very good passer.
Weaknesses: Boykins is, and always has been, a major defensive liability because of his height. It goes without saying that he can be posted up at any time, and he's not good enough at ball pressure to make up the difference. He's also literally a non-factor on the glass, grabbing just 34 rebounds all of last year. On offense, Boykins' midrange game -- formerly one of his biggest strengths -- went south in '08, as he hit just 36.7% on 2-pointers. And as is the case with most small guards as they enter their 30s, his quickness is slipping fast; Boykins' rate of steals and, more importantly, his ability to create shots declined pretty seriously in his half-season stint with Charlotte. He turns 32 this summer, so this could be the beginning of the end for Boykins, one of the best ultra-small players in NBA history.
Favorite shot: Medium-range jumper.

Ryan Hollins

Vital Info
Height: 7'0"
Weight: 230 lbs.
Position: Center
Born: 10/10/1984
College: UCLA
Drafted: 2006 - 2nd Round, 50th Overall

Player Type: Athletic shot-blocking big man
Strengths: Hollins is a pure shot-blocker, plain and simple. He's athletic for a 7-footer, and this couples with his length to make him an intimidating presence coming in off the help side. Hollins will also run the floor for dunks and easy buckets, and is a good offensive rebounder.
Weaknesses: Simply put, Hollins has athleticism but lacks basketball skills. He has no post game to speak of and has no shooting range outside of five feet. Defensively, Hollins severely lacks strength, making it difficult for him to get rebounding position and contend one-on-one with opposing big men inside.
Favorite shot: Putback dunk.

Matt Carroll

Vital Info
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 212 lbs.
Position: Shooting Guard
Born: 8/28/1980
College: Notre Dame
Drafted: Not drafted

Player Type: One-dimensional pure shooter
Strengths: Carroll can flat-out shoot the 3, having drilled at least 39% of his attempts from downtown in each of the past 3 seasons. He also has decent offensive instincts -- he knows his long-range stroke is feared, so he's not averse to buying himself space for midrange shots and the occasional dribble-drive with a clever shot fake.
Weaknesses: Unfortunately, Carroll's nice shooting stroke is just about his only asset these days. He used to be adept at drawing fouls on drives, but he slipped in that department last season, and as a result his scoring was way down. He used to have pretty decent hands for steals, too, but hasn't done well in that category in two years. And the rest of his game is seriously lacking, mainly because he lacks NBA-caliber quickness/athleticism. He's a poor defender despite decent court awareness, and adds very little on the boards. He's essentially a one-dimensional player at this point.
Favorite shot: Any 3-pointer.

Jared Dudley

Vital Info
Height: 6'7"
Weight: 225 lbs.
Position: Forward
Born: 7/10/1985
College: Boston College
Drafted: 2007 - 1st Round, 22nd Overall

Player Type: Tweener who makes up for physical shortcomings with hustle & smarts
Strengths: Dudley is a very smart player with a high basketball IQ, which helps him on defense and the boards despite a lack of size or athleticism. Two physical gifts he does possess are long arms, which let him rack up steals and hassle opponents on defense. Dudley plays with a lot of energy, and this translates to very good offensive rebounding numbers. Overall, he's a versatile player who isn't particularly bad at any one skill.
Weaknesses: Dudley is a classic tweener -- he isn't particularly athletic or quick enough to be an impact small forward, and he doesn't have the height of a typical power forward. His midrange game, billed as a strength going into the draft, was a disappointment last season -- his eFG% on jumpers was just .383. He can't really create his own shot at the NBA level, either. And while he isn't bad at any skill, he doesn't really stand out in any category, either, save for his superior intangibles.
Favorite shot: Midrange jumper.