Friday, February 12, 2010

THHB's Top 10 Hawks of the Decade: Number Six

If you haven't heard, you can check out our other End of the Hawks Decade articles:

A Decade of Hawks Aughts (and Aught-Nots),

Top Hawks by Statistical Category

THHB's Top 10 (and more) Hawks of the Decade, #10, #9, #8, #7

Number Six is a player upon whose arrival the improvement of the franchise kicked into high gear.

Our Number Six Hawks Player of the Decade is:

Mike Bibby

Bibby came to the Hawks in the 2007 deal that sent Anthony Johnson, Tyronn Lue, Lorenzen Wright and 2006 Hawks' first rounder Shelden Williams to Sacramento in a salary dump trade.

The trade marked two things:

1. The Hawks were finally the team buying at the trade deadline instead of selling. A wonderful statement on the state of the franchise.

2. Bibby marked the first real point guard the Hawks had rostered since Mookie Blaylock was dealt in 1999.

Neither of these things should go understated, as they were significant marking points of the team's direction. That the Hawks were able to get a player of Bibby's caliber for nothing more than a collection of salaries was a position that the Hawks hadn't been in a while.

But what made Bibby's arrival most weighty, as well as garnering the #6 slot on our list, was that the presence of his consistent, long range shooting and leadership at the position that needs it most---and those two things drove the Hawks to the next level--the playoffs.

Last season, Bibby turned in a terrific performance at the point, stated somewhat awkwardly by THHB here, prompting a 3 year, 18 million dollar deal for a job well done and some continued stability at the point.

Bibby provided a needed relief for Joe Johnson, one as another shooter in the backcourt who is cold-blooded when it comes to taking late game shots, another as an outlet to pass to when double-teamed, and finally as the needed locker room voice---not just to the media, but to teammates and Coach Woodson as well. THHB makes the point that without that steadying influence in the locker room, the team doesn't mature into the home court holding playoff team it is right now.

This season, Bibby's role is reduced due to age, defensive erosion, and the presence of Jamal Crawford. Bibby's numbers are down---including rate numbers---and his skill set is more role playing facilitator and long range sniper than 35-40 minute-per-game workhorse, but he still provides the leadership and playmaking abilities at the point that the team needs there.

Bibby's arrival on the team, and the leap of success that followed, along with his production since he joined the team, makes Bibby our Number Six Hawk of the Decade.

1 comment:

Sports Chump said...

Giving your boy 'Nique some love on my latest.

Thought you might get a kick out of it.