Running with Zaza

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Hawks' Roster Analysis - Point Guard

Wow, this position is the most improved on the Hawks roster from the beginning of 2007-08 season to 2008-09 season. Mike Woodson has to be excited that he can pretty much pencil in Bibby as the starter. The great part for Woodson is that these guys should know the pecking order. The Acie Law / Anthony Johnson / Tyronn Lue debacle from last year is a distant memory. Remember when Lue use to take big shots? Awful. Remember when Super Joe (a new nickname let’s see if it catches on) and J-Chill had to play the point? Will Bibby make you forget Chris Paul and Deron Williams? No, but I am starting to think getting Al Horford was worth missing on those two guys. As a group, these point guards can score on any group in the Eastern Conference.

Mike Bibby. One of the Hawks’ highest paid players this season. In the last year of his contract, Bibby will start every game that he is healthy this year. Having Bibby in the lineup is a huge upgrade compared to the start of the 2007-08 season. His outside shooting stretches the defense. He is a veteran leader that has the respect of NBA officials. In critical situations, Bibby draws fouls and earns free throws. The weaknesses are clear. He cannot pressure the ball on defense. Bibby has trouble breaking the defense down and getting into the lane. Bibby’s smarts and skills make the Hawks a stronger regular season team.

Acie Law. Law is the heir apparent to Bibby, but the problem is that he is not much different than Bibby. Law is a solid player, but he will not scare opposing defenses. Mike Woodson can rely on Law to run the offense and get the ball to the right guys on the offensive end. Defensively, he is important, because he can pressure the basketball. In his second year, Law needs to make a major step forward in his development. Whether or not he can make open jump shots and beat his man off the dribble are the variables that should determine his playing time.

Flip Murray. Murray is the most intriguing new player in the Hawks’ backcourt. He is an explosive scorer and a game changer. If he is focused, Flip can mean the difference in close games, because he can beat anyone off the dribble. What happens after he beats is man is the part that is scary. Anything can happen. He could find someone for an open 3-pointer or dunk, or he could dribble the ball off his foot. Because of his size, I see him playing lots of 4th quarter minutes in place of Law.

Speedy Claxton. Forget about Claxton. It’s over for him unless Bibby gets hurt and misses significant time. He is small and has lost a step. If Bibby goes down, Claxton can run the point to start games. My question is do the Hawks give him some minutes so that they can try to trade him? This is the last year of his contract. He lasts the year with the Hawks and then quietly leaves Atlanta.

Mike Woodson has to feel more comfortable with this position than he ever has during his tenure with Atlanta. Does anyone remember when Boris Diaw was the point guard? Bibby solidifies the position on a nightly basis. Bibby stays healthy and shoots a high percentage from 3 point range. Acie Law plays at times, but Flip Murray earns more and more minutes during the regular season. Murray should thrive with the southern hospitality of Atlanta. I guess the final question is can Mike Woodson get any of these point guards to play defense?


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