Josh Smith is the NBA’s most-harmful shooter.
Nine years ago, John Hollinger developed a formula to show which players hurt their teams most by shooting on a per-minute basis. He called it “Brick Index,” and here’s the formula:
Brick Index = (([NBA average TS%] – TS%) x (FGA + (FTA x 0.44))) / (Min/40)
Tom Haberstroh revisited that formula, writing about Smith’s struggles in greater detail, and here’s what it reveals for this season:
Smith’s Brick Index not only leads the NBA by a wide margin, it’s historically bad. Per Haberstroh, it’s the fourth-worst in the last 15 years. It ranks ahead of a Michael Jordan season, though, so that’s cool, I guess.
Brandon Jennings is No. 7 on the 2014 list, making the Pistons the only team with two players with such high Brick Indexes.
Smith and Jennings are obviously shooting terribly, and that’s the No. 1 reason they’re on this list. But Maurice Cheeks’ insistence on making those two – rather than, say, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond – the focal point of Detroit’s offense raises their Brick Index. Shooting poorly is one key to a high Brick Index. Shooting a lot is the other.
The fifth member of Detroit’s starting lineup, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, also appears on the above list at No. 21. He’s shot so poorly that even his limited role doesn’t save him. His biggest problem is he almost never gets to the free-throw line, just 1.2 attempts per 36 minutes, and failing to pad his scoring efficiency from the charite stripe. But Caldwell-Pope is one of four rookies in the Brick Index top 25, so his struggles are somewhat excusable.
On a related note, I know some of you certainly noticed Trey Burke ranks No. 8. But his Brick Index ranks behind Rookie of the Year favorite Michael Carter-Williams’. Though their Brick Indexes were better, 2013 Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard and 2012 Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving also had issues with inefficiency. Putting a rookie point guard on a bad team into a huge role is just asking for trouble.
Know what else is asking for trouble? Putting Smith on your team, period.
Just imagine how much worse this would be if Smith weren’t shooting more smartly.