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http://www.ajc.com/sports/content/sports/hawks/1105/12hawks.html

Instead of stepping up, Josh Smith has stepped back. First dumped from the starting lineup and then pushed down the bench, Smith is at an early season crossroads. "I'm looking for production," coach Mike Woodson said after putting the winless Hawks through a lengthy practice Friday in preparation for Saturday night's game against Memphis. "I'm not just giving minutes away."

That's becoming obvious. Woodson had Smith on the floor for only 11 minutes, 40 seconds in Thursday's 102-95 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. In that time, 6-foot-9 forward had two points, four rebounds, two turnovers and one blocked shot while turning in a generally indecisive performance.

"You've got to earn your time," Woodson said. "Right now, he's just out there [when he plays]. We have to get him back to being productive."

A spectacular leaper, the 19-year-old Atlanta native averaged 9.7 points and 6.2 rebounds last season in addition to winning the rookie dunk contest at the NBA All-Star Weekend. So far, though, he has failed to build on that first-year promise.

Although Smith's only basket in seven shots against the Clippers came on a slam, his shooting woes aren't all that has concerned Woodson. The rest of his game is also a concern.

"I'm looking for all-out effort," Woodson said. "These guys are young, so they should be high energy.

"I expect hustle plays and doing the right things to win. It's not just trying to score. You have to defend, rebound and run the floor or I'm not going to have you in the game."

After inconsistent play in the first two games, Smith was dropped from the starting lineup and responded with 14 points and four blocked shots off the bench in a near victory at Portland. But his playing time dropped against the Los Angeles Lakers and then hit bottom against the Clippers. "It's frustrating obviously to go from the starting lineup to hardly even playing," said Smith, who is averaging 8.2 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting only 34.7 percent.

Instead of sulking, though, Smith went hard in practice Friday and led the closing wind sprints. It was the kind of effort that Woodson would like to see in games from not only Smith, but all his young players.

"Intensity was up from everyone," Woodson said of practice. "But that has to carry over. They go harder in practice than they do in games. Sometimes, young players think they are giving it everything when they're not."

"I just have to take out my frustrations in practice," said Smith, who has played 30 minutes in just one of the first five games. "I have to be ready for my time when coach does call on me.

"He doesn't really count on me scoring, but I do want to be able to do more than just dunk. The big thing, though, is to rebound, defend, block shots and run. That's my role, whether I start or come off the bench.

"I'm not playing like I want, but the big thing is that the team is losing. That's what is most frustrating. I don't want this to be like last year, when we kept losing and losing."
 

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TheATLien said:
The big thing, though, is to rebound, defend, block shots and run. That's my role, whether I start or come off the bench.
Have to agree with that.
 

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It looks like he responded well tonight coming off the bench.

31 minutes
14 points
10 rebounds
2 blocked shots
5/10 FG's

And he was 4-4 from the FT line. At least somebody on this team can make FT's.
 

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Well he's definitely deserved to be a starter in my eyes. If they gonna loose at least make it fun to watch which Jsmoove's bringing it everytime.
 
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