Thursday, May 14, 2009

Get to the Point

ATL fans, since Jeff Denberg lost his life to cancer the city did not have a finer beat writer (no offense, Michael Lee) than today's Sekou Smith.

He is everything you want a beat writer to be; informative, timely, and candid. Smith delicately balances keeping-it-real with the fact that his livelihood comes from gaining access/information from the very people he might be straight with the readers about.

His blog is a good read, it's located on our Bird Feeds and today features some takes on Josh Smith, offseason patience (like we don't know how that is), and the thorn in the flesh of the Atlanta Hawks franchise, the point guard position.

His take is one part defense of Bibby and one part calling out the franchise for a lack of a long term plan at the position.

Our take on Bibby is well known: The Hawks are better off for having stolen him from SAC and a large part of why they are (10) games better comes from having his shotmaking ability and competency at playmaking. Just having those two things brought the Hawks from an almost decade long exile at the position to stability.

However, Bibby is miscast (common theme) as a 35-40 minute a game player at this stage in his career. Yes, he is only (31), but there are eleven NBA years on those legs, ankles, hips, etc--and it shows on the defensive end. We don't advocate letting Bibby walk, especially given the extreme negligence in developing a younger alternative/supplement over the years by the franchise. But to bring him back and continuing to run him in any longer than a 25-30 minute game; to maximize his effectiveness, is misguided and sure to show the same sorts of problems defensively next season.

The Hawks have to present some alternative next year that will be a compliment to Bibby's skills at the point guard position as well as give Bibby some strategic games off, should he be back next year. The fact that the Hawks are no closer to understanding what Acie Law might provide at that position after (2) seasons is a failure.

If the Hawks don't believe that Law can provide what we are suggesting for next season then they need to get on it quick, and by it we mean bring in that slasher type who can make plays, understands distributing the ball, and also get after it defensively. There are a few options out there that fit our description, and Sekou does a nice job in listing them out on that blog entry, and Mark Bradley lets us know what his pet project would be through the draft channel (VCU's Eric Maynor).

Sekou absolutely sticks it with this quote:

Either you have a veteran hand capable of orchestrating almost any situation, a guy that can make everything run smoothly (Kurt Warner anyone) or you have the young phenom (the Falcons’ Matt Ryan comes to mind) that simply will not be denied. If you get caught between those two extremes, you’re gambling with your team’s future.
Whatever the Hawks do with this critical decision, it must be with both next year and the future in mind. Otherwise, as Sekou says, it's a gamble---and it's a wager with immediate consequences.

The HHB wrote a post about the horrors of the past when it comes to this position---so we're extra sensitive when this subject is at hand. Thoughts and Ideas can be offered in the safety of the Comments Area.


Bret LaGree said...

I may expand on this (or I may not) when I write the player-by-player season review posts but I don't see how bringing back Mike Bibby at half the price to play 30 minutes a night, no matter how much sense it makes in the abstract, is a plausible scenario considering Woodson's predilection both for veterans in general and to play his veterans as much as possible.

It would have to be a decree from the front office to force Woodson to develop a young backup point guard which would only exacerbate Woodson's personal insecurity/inability to take strong control of the team, however you wish to categorize the source of his natural, purely reactive head coaching state.

Jason Walker said...

I think it's a fait accompli that they will bring Bibby back:

1. They don't have a backup (so to speak) plan.

2. They aren't likely to be big dollar free agent players due to their own advancing financial talent core.

3. Coach and player want to be back and I don't see Sund as a big boat rocker--but we'll see.

So that said, if I believe that Bibby will be back, they have to be smarter about how they use him.

After all, if you and I were in control of the franchise, there is no way we would be in this circumstance with such an important part of the franchise.

Bret LaGree said...

If I were in charge of the franchise think of the bench I'd construct: Salim Stoudamire! PJ Tucker! Nick Fazekas!

It's a wonder no one's given me such control of an NBA franchise.

Jason Walker said...

We could really challenge each other on misses---I was really excited about the DerMarr Johnson pick and that the Terry/Glover/Big Dog/Shareef/Theo lineup could be one of the best the Hawks ever had.

I also loved Luke Jackson and Kirk Snyder in the 2004 draft. Yeah!

Unknown said...

You guys are killing me...good thing, I've never been in the predicting what a basketball player will do business. I will say that it's harder and harder to evaluate what players can do for us if we don't play them. I'm even starting to be convinced that Horford's ceiling is dangerously close to being lowered significantly if he continues to be coached by Woodson. I mean if you can ruin Law, Diaw, Shelden (yes, he was bad, but was he end of the bench awful...sense my theme here).

Anyway, I'm with Bret on this. I am completely distrustful of Woodson doing anything regardless of GM decree with development of a player. So, if Bibby comes back - expect to see the same.

Jesse said...

Woodson has to go in order for this team to progress any further. You can bring everyone back or you can move players, but Woodson will still ruin any potential or actual talent regardless. I followed Law through most of his college career and there is absolutely no reason why he isn't producing for this team already. Woodson should have been fired last year for refusing to develop the players given to him and he should be fired this year for the same reasons.

I'm on the fence w/r/t Bibby staying or walking. He has a load of experience, is very vocal on the court, and when his shot is dropping he scores in bunches. On the flip side, he can't keep a statue in front of him, when his shot is not falling he offers nothing to the team, and he's only getting older.

I really hate feeling like my analysis of this team and its players have to be predicated on so many "if's", but the simple fact remains that IF Woodson had been properly developing the players provided to him, we may not have ever had a need for Bibby in the first place or we may not need to resign Bibby now, but would instead have Stoudamire or Law, respectively, running the show today. IF I had any confidence that Sund could force Woodson to change his tactics, then maybe I would be more inclined to let Bibby walk and force Woodson to actually play Law as his first and only option. I just don't see that happening so it looks like we may be resigning Bibby anyways.

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