His number one priority is to win and be competitive or he will be gone after this season. He realizes that Jeremy Lin was Joe Lacob's (majority owner) personal choice. It's for Smart's benefit that Jeremy develops. However, Smart is not going to risk losing to develop Lin. That doesn't make any sense for Smart or for the team. The main reason that Lin has gotten playing time early on is that they started the season without a legit backup point guard. It looks like the Warriors believed that Charlie Bell would be a possible back up guard. Remember, Bell started 64 games for Milwaukee in 2006-2007, averaging 13.5 points a game. Even last year, he started 39 games for a playoff team. For his career, he averages 25mpg. That's the reason they didn't resign CJ Watson.
It's a little to early to say that Smart won't succeed. First of all, he hasn't had his full team yet. Secondly, he has only coached 23 games. Also, even with the full roster, there are lots of holes in it. The biggest being at center. Biedrins is a good rebounder, has decent hands, and is mobile. However, he needs to play tougher, he needs to finish around the basket if guarded, and he needs to protect the paint a lot better (JLin has more blocks per 48 minutes than Biedrins, 2.15 to 1.28). So, it's very difficult when you have Lee, also an average to below average defender paired with Biedrins defensively down low. Udoh and Amundson will help but Amundson is a 20mpg energy player and Udoh is just a rookie, who looks like he'll really help down the road. Obviously, Steph and Monta are very gifted offensively. However, defensively they are almost always at a disadvantage. I believe that Monta is actually a pretty good defender for his size, but at 6'3" 180lbs, he is just physically overmatched at the 2 guard. You cannot give up 2-4 inches and 20-40lbs every night and expect him to be very effective defensively night in and night out. Also, with all of the minutes he plays and having to carry the load offensively, he understandably rests on defense at times. Steph is also not a good defender. He is usually physically overmatched as well but makes up for it on the offensive end. He is very quick but not a strong or great athlete. Both guards have quick hands but gamble too much for steals.
My biggest complaint with Smart would be that he has struggled with his rotations and with playing the starters, especially Monta too many minutes. Even during preseason, he had Monta (35mpg) and Curry (29mpg) playing lots of minutes. When the Warriors are down by 20+ with 8 minutes to go, the bench should be in. He is just overworking the starters and not giving the bench enough time to get into the flow.
I do think that Smart has been pretty fair with JLin in that he has played him more minutes than Bell. He has given Jeremy opportunities to play in the rotation albeit shorter stints than I would have liked to see. His 9 mpg is 26th out of all rookies.
Trying to be as objective as possible, you can see glimpses of his potential (steals per 48 minutes, blocks per 48 minutes, able to get by his defender). However, he has struggled to even just get the ball to set up the offense at times. He hasn't been able to finish over the help defenders and he hasn't been confident with his outside shot. Obviously, his teammates don't have confidence in him as well. They don't give him the outlet pass and hardly ever look to pass to him unless forced to. This is something that happens if you are unproven and cannot come in and instantly make plays. He has to prove and earn minutes and respect from his teammates at practice and by producing whenever he gets a chance in the games.
I think the pick up of Acie Law is actually a good thing for Jeremy. This helps take the pressure off of being considered an inadequate backup pg. I think he will come in and play more relaxed, he showed it bit against Miami. He also has to adjust to the help coming over when he gets to the hoop and look for an open man near the basket or kick outs at the 3 pt line.
I still believe that Jeremy can be more than a bench or marginal NBA player. However, it is going to take some time. More than I originally thought. We all would have liked him to come in and play like he did against John Wall every night. However, that hasn't happened. His development and game will take lots of work as well as time. I would love to see him get a personal trainer and shooting coach to work with him next off season. Especially since it could be a long one with the lockout looming. Still, I'm sure there will be some nights where he gets the opportunity and really plays well and look like a legit NBA pg. There will be other nights where he will really struggle and hear talk of him not being an NBA caliber player. That's life for many NBA rookies. Has anyone watched Evan Turner? He was the 2nd pick in the draft and look at his past 3 games:
6 min. 0 pts
15 min. 2 pts
11 min. 0pts
As I've stated before, we are on a journey that I'm sure will be filled with many bumps on the road. However, for those of us who believe in Jeremy, lets stay positive and lets keep looking at the bright side of things.