Sign Josh Smith and move Batum to shooting guard

Josh Smith is the top free agent that is realistically available for the Blazers to sign this offseason. He provides great defense, passing, and a ridiculous open court game. If you look at his offensive highlights, they usually come from fast breaks or slashing to the rim. He really doesn't play much with his back to the basket and really plays more like a small forward.

The reality is that Smith really might be an off-the-ball combo forward, as apposed to a legit stretch 4. While playing the 3 last season he held opponents to a PER of 8.9, and posted more efficient shooting numbers as opposed to when he was at the 4. When he puts his head down and attacks the basket Smith is great. When he's in the open court he's great. When he moves off the ball he's great. -yahoo sports

Defense is notoriously difficult to quantitatively assess, but Bradford Doolittle’s latest attempt to measure perimeter defense ranked Josh Smith the best in the league, ahead of elite wing-stoppers like Andre Iguodala and Tony Allen.

However, his improvement defensively has been remarkable as he used to struggle to contain small forwards. In 2010 Josh played 11% of the Hawks' minutes at the three and allowed opposing small forwards to average 19.9 points (53.8 eFG%), 7.1 rebs, and 3.2 assists with a 16.9 PER. This year he is keeping opposing small forwards to 16.9 points (42.6 eFG%), 6.4 rebounds, and 2 assists per 48 minutes and a weak 8.1 PER. -Peach tree hoops

As NBA teams become shrewder on the idea of not overpaying wing players Josh Smith might be considered the bridesmaid of this year's free agency class, thus pricing himself into a deal closer to the $8-11M range as apposed to the max-deal he and his camp are sniffing around for. -yahoo sports

If you sign Smith then you can move Batum to shooting guard who IMO, is better suited to play guard. He often plays guard for the French national team so it's a position he is comfortable playing. Plus Batum is not strong enough to match up against Lebron or other more physical small forwards, but has the length and quickness to contain guards. His new found ability to be a play maker also bodes well for playing guard.

Batum talked at length while in Portland for offseason workouts about his desire to play shooting guard. France’s head coach, Vincent Collet, is Batum’s former coach at Le Mans and is keenly aware of his varied abilities, so their shouldn’t be much pressure to prove he can handle the duties of the position. And he already played a bit of point forward during EuroBasket qualifiers last year, so with another year of experience under his belt, Batum says he’s ready to continue his maturation as a player by playing the two against high-level competition.-Casey Holdahl 2010

Can you imagine the pressure both Batum and Smith will cause on the wings with their disruption of passing lanes and their ability to fly down the court off turnovers?

Now if you use your cap space on Smith you need to draft a big who has experience and can step in right away, like Dieng. Dieng will provide shot blocking, rebounding, passing and the ability to knock down an open shot. Plus he's battle tested and older than most rookies so he will have an easier time stepping in right away.

That leaves you with a team that has scorers inside and out, shot blockers at four different positions, passing ability at all five starting positions and a legit sixth man in Wes.

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