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Stan Van Gundy Benches Josh Smith After “Jawing Session” About Defense

It wasn’t just Markieff Morris and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who got into it last night during the Suns-Pistons game. It seems Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy and forward Josh Smith had a verbal altercation when J Smoove was subbed out with a few minutes left in the third quarter. He did not return in the 88-86 Suns win.

According to MLive.com, Smith and Van Gundy “engaged” in “a jawing session when the former went to the bench with 4:04 left in the third quarter.”

The Detroit Free PressVincent Ellis has more in the imbroglio between player and coach.

Ellis goes on to downplay the disagreement, believing it was nothing compared to the arguments between former coach Maurice Cheeks and Will Bynum and or any of the arguments that happened under the tenure of former coach (2009-2011) John Kuester:

Despite this not turning into a locker-room implosion, it does mean there could be a fissure in the relationship between Smith and SVG. Van Gundy, remember, told Smith he probably wasn’t getting traded this summer — though that might have been because the coach/team president couldn’t find any takers for the remaining three years and $40 million still left on Smith’s contract.

SVG has said Smith will shoot fewer three-pointers this season, and Smith said he’s bulked up to spend more time near the rim as well.

He has cut his percentage of three-point attempts by almost half from last year (4.9 vs. 2.7), and he is taking a higher percentage of his overall field goal attempts near the rim, but he’s also shooting more in the 3-10 foot range and the inefficient 16-23 foot range for long 2-pointers.

He’s also struggling to find his shooting touch — not that he had much of one to begin with — with his true shooting percentage dropping from 46.3 last season to a godawful 39.7 this year.

But it’s the defense that’s pissing Stan off it seems, and when Smith talked back, Smith as done with him for the night. When you’re the president of basketball operations AND coach, you can do things like that. When SVG was in Orlando, that wasn’t the case, but there’s a reason he held out for the dual role, and it’s probably for scenarios just like this. It’s easier to coach when you aren’t wondering about management pulling the rug out from under you.

(H/T DetroitBadBoys)

Will Smith stay with the Pistons through the February deadline?

Follow Spencer on Twitter at @SpencerTyrel.

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