In Good Company

Wednesday, April 21, 2010
By Jon Newberry

This morning Hawks PR man Arthur Triche let us know that J-Smoove became the fourth player in NBA Playoff history to have at least 20 points/8 rebounds/8 assists and shoot 80% in a playoff game with his 21/14/9/82% performance last night. Others that accomplished that feat are  Mitch Richmond (1989 playoffs), Magic Johnson (1982), and Bill Russell (1965).  

Let’s just look at the absurd stat line one more time:

Good news for the Hawks, both Johnson and Russell went on to lead their teams to championships after their stellar performances.

Good news for Josh, he joins a group that has 30 All-Star appearances (including 4 All-Star MVP’s), 26 All-NBA selections, 8 regular season MVP’s, and 16 championship rings.

As many of you probably guessed, Russell and Magic take the credit for most of those awards and accolades. They are, of course, both Hall of Famers and widely considered among the best of all-time. It is always risky comparing contemporary players to the talents of legends. The only reason I inch down that path in this instance is because the Russell/Johnson combo is rarely lumped together and it seems fitting that a Smoove performance would motivate the pairing.

Like Magic, Josh is constantly bringing fans to their feet with highlight reel quality plays. He has a flair for changing games with energy and emotion which few players possess. Like Russell, Josh can dominate a game on the defensive end of the court. The irony is that an accomplishment based solely on stats for a single game brought out similarities that stress value BEYOND the stat sheet.