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Hawks owner: Josh Smith is the “closest thing to LeBron”

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When Josh Smith is on, there are few players more fun to watch in the league. And he was on Tuesday night -- 21 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists. He and Al Horford won game two for the Hawks.

It’s the kind of game that can make an owner overstate your value to a FanHouse reporter.

“He’s the closest thing to LeBron in the league,’' Hawks owner Michael Gearon Jr. said in an interview after the game with FanHouse. “I’m not saying he’s LeBron. But just look, he gets assists, he rebounds, he blocks shots. He’s a game changer. ... Just look at his stats.’'

Really, you’d take him over Dwyane Wade? Over Kevin Durant? Over Chris Bosh? Over Kobe Bryant (age could play into that one)? Look at it this way, Smith finished 21st in the NBA in PER this season and the 20 guys ahead of him can be game-changers too, even Zach Randolph.

By the way, Mr. Gearon, comments that will be brought up during the next contract negotiations with Smith include this one.

Josh Smith can bring it on defense (second in the Defensive Player of the Year voting). He is maybe the second best athlete in the league. He has stopped taking threes and his shot selection improved (although his true shooting percentage and other offensive measures). He is an All-Star and there isn’t a team in the league that couldn’t use a guy like him.

But let’s not overdo it, people.