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Examining Mike Bibby’s role with the Atlanta Hawks


Today I want to examine Mike Bibby’s role with the Atlanta Hawks. Bibby had been key in the Hawks recent turnaround and have improved their record every season since his arrival. He is no doubt the best Point Guard that the Hawks have had since Mookie Blaylock even in what some would call the downside of his career.

The Hawks resigned Bibby this off season to a reasonable salary number 6.2 million however, the contract is for 3 seasons. For the season Bibby’s numbers appear to be down due to a reduction in minutes. Over his last five games he has been really struggling:

  • 6 points per game
  • 2.2 assists
  • 1 rebound
  • shooting 12-34 from the field, 5-16 from deep.
  • averaging 23 minutes a game over the last 5

For the season Bibby is averaging:

  • 8.9 points per game
  • 4.2 assists
  • 2.1 rebounds
  • 41 % from the field
  • 39% from deep
  • 27 minutes per game

Teams have also been attacking Bibby relentlessly on the defensive end. The Spurs in particular went right at him in a game where Bibby played 27 minutes and went scoreless shooting 0-7 from the field and handed out only 1 assist. That also culminated with Bibby only logging 9 minutes against the Celtics. Granted it must be said that Jamal Crawford has been playing really well and that also has resulted in Bibby’s reduction in minutes and less attempts to shoot himself out of his slump.

Mike Bibby’s value to the Hawks goes deeper than his numbers. He is an experienced calming influence for the Hawks. He is also serving as a mentor to point guard incumbent Jeff Teague. Also he has good rapport with his teammates his running mate Joe Johnson in particular. During the summer their wasn’t a lot of point guard options out there. There was an unproven Jarrett Jack who has played well since being inserted into the starting lineup for Toronto and there was also Andre Miller.

Miller got about 3 million more over the length of his contract than Bibby did but the last year of his deal is a team option. At the time I felt Miller’s lack of outside shooting wouldn’t make him a good fit for the Hawks as Bibby keeps defenses from just collapsing off of him. With the emergence of Jamal Crawford though I am not sure now that it wouldn’t have worked. In fact I think it probably would have worked really well due to Miller being a superior defender over Bibby.

Bibby is a hard worker and was out early before the game on Saturday working on his shot. He also played marginally better against the Magic. Bibby’s season will probably be filled with peaks and valleys. That is why I feel it is important to find more time for Jeff Teague. No doubt Teague’s role will have to increase next season when in all likelihood Bibby’s play will slip further. More importantly the Hawks will need to know if in fact Teague is capable of taking over the point guard position for the team. Following next season Bibby’s contract will be an expiring deal and should be a semi valuable trade chip.

I am not hating on Mike Bibby although I was worried when we gave him a three year deal. It won’t hurt the Hawks this season as long as Crawford continues to play well. However, the problem lies in the future and makes the development of Jeff Teague that much more important.

Tags: Atlanta Hawks Mike Bibby

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    We all knew this day was coming with Bibby, we just didn’t expect it to be so soon. I fear as long as Woodson is the coach, ownership is going to have to continue to sign past their prime point guards to appease him. He has shown that he has no interest in letting a young man run his offense (which is still mostly non-existent) I don’t feel like he’ll develop Teague any more than he tried to develop Stoudemire or Law IV. It would be easy to say that neither of those guys are playing so obviously Woody was right in not playing them, but I don’t think they were given a fair opportunity during actual games to show what their capabilities were. If Mike Woodson can truly assess the value of a player in 3-7 minutes of actual game time, then he’s in the wrong position. He should be a scout or a GM.

  • KWillis

    Well I don’t mean to sound like I’m pro Woodson but I think Teague will get his shot ultimately. I think he is different because I think he is GM Rick Sund’s guy. No one is going to do anything this season to shake anything up. There will be a lot of question marks for this team and organization going into the off season any way. I don’t see any other alternative unless they use Jamal in that position. Thanks for the comments!

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    So are you saying perhaps Rick Sund will force Woody to play him? I don’t think he is going to do it on his own. He plays Mario West before he plays Jeff Teague and I’m convinced that has more to do with him being somewhat familiar with Mario and the fact that Mario is about 3-4 years older than Teague certainly isn’t hurting him. I just don’t think Woodson trusts young guys. More than anything though, he just does what he knows. He’s so predictable you can just about point out the games by memory where he made adjustments because it’s so rare that it’s noticeable.

  • KWillis

    I think Sund will take this into account when negotiating with Woody. I mean I don’t see an ultimatum or anything coming due to the Hawks success. Woody would win that battle right now. I agree with you that Woodson doesn’t trust the young guys and with the Hawks winning he doesn’t have to. If the front office is going to commit to Woody long term then there isn’t any use in drafting mid to late first round players. My thing is next year you still have the Crawford crutch to prop on. Year after that then there is more questions as Crawford will be up and they will have to make a decision on Teague’s rookie contract.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    I really feel like Woody needs to figure out whether or not the kid can play. He has to find 10-12 minutes per game for the kid. Honestly, most nights its not like he can’t do what Bibby does. Especially those nights when Bibby isn’t hitting wide open shots. I also think Marvin and Mo should switch places. I feel like Marv would thrive with the second team. Crawford, Pachullia, Marv, Teague and and Joe Smith should be able to hold it down for a few minutes. As it stands now, Jamal is the only offensive threat on the floor when the bench comes in. Teague has no confidence in his shot, so teams can basically ignore him, and Mo is really, really streaky. What do you think?

  • KWillis

    I agree with you but given our current standing I am not really calling for a lot of change. I do think it is ridiculous that Teague can’t get on the floor and Mario can. It is amazing how Mo Evans can be so good one night and terrible the next. Early on you saw Marvin with that second group a little more because the Hawks would go with Bibby, Crawford and Johnson at one time. Now with Bibby struggling you are seeing more Crawford, Johnson, and Williams. I got another post coming on Marvin in a few days so I want to save my comments. We definitely agree about
    Teague. I hope the Hawks have a summer league team this year. While it is no where near the same the guy needs to play and build some confidence.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    By all means save your thoughts for the post! Haha. I think they should just send Teague to the D League. I guess they can’t because they only have 4 guards on the roster. I just know the boy needs real live game action. It’s not the same in practice and I think it’s really unfair of our coach to expect a young man to come in for 3-5 minutes every third game and be noticeably productive. It just doesn’t work like that. Teague isn’t the only person on the team who should be offended that Mario basically walked off the street and earned minutes. Joe Smith, Jason Collins and Randolph Morris should be pissed too.

  • KWillis

    I am sure only having 4 guards plays a part. The Hawks never have really used the D-League as a vital part for development. Who would be your pick to coach this team? I mean I feel there is virtually no chance that Woodson doesn’t come back, but hypothetically who would be your pick to coach if you could make the choice?

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    That is such a tough question. You know the saying “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know” or something like that…. I don’t feel like Mike Woodson gets the most out of this team. I honestly do not. All coaches have their flaws though. I don’t want to start over, so no rookie head coaches, but maybe they should give Larry Frank a look and Byron Scott. If the hawks get to the ECF which is not an unrealistic goal, then I would assume they’d bring Mike Woodson back. I mean, even though this would only be his second winning season, I don’t know that you can justify firing the man if he gets you to the doorstep of the promised land. Who would you talk to? Oh, Sam Mitchell is available too.

  • KWillis

    Its a very tough decision for me. I don’t see them not bringing Woodson back unless he doesn’t want to come back barring a complete collapse. Its a very tough question and I mean if you read various NBA team blogs around you hear the same complaints about other coaches that you hear about Woodson. My first choice would be George Karl until he signs his extension with the Nuggets. After that it is a tough choice. I always liked Byron Scott but I didn’t like a lot of the things that I heard coming out around his dismissal from New Orleans. Maybe Avery Johnson? He wants a long term commitment though. That said I think Woodson will get his extension and this all will just be idle conversation.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    You’re right. So, I guess we’d better hope Woody turns into a championship coach. If this team doesn’t get out of the second round I think we know the ceiling for this group as currently constructed (or as currently utilized) so the owners are going to have to look long and hard at the coach and the franchise player. I don’t believe Joe is worth more than $15 million per year especially not at the expense of the rest of the roster. Al Horford is due to be paid very soon. If he (Joe) gets the Hawks to the ECF then maybe I’d feel better about giving him max money. Right now, I think what they offered this summer was more than fair. Joe is a very good player, even great on some nights, but he hasn’t shown me he’s matured as a player over these last 4 years. He’s still treating his teammates like he did 3 years ago when he was the best option. Not to say he isn’t the best option now, but he kills the offense and thus kills chances of winning certain games. He’s going to have to respect his teammates and their talents before this team can truly take the next step.

  • KWillis

    I feel your same frustrations and I am a guy who applauded the Joe Johnson trade as much as anyone. This off season is scary for a number of reasons. We need to get to the ECF as much as for revenue as wins. I have been terribly disappointed that we can’t fill up Phillips Arena on a nightly basis and I am sure that the owners have been as well. The ECF should give us some added money. Honestly my gut says that a second round series will get Joe and Mike Woodson whatever they are asking for. The trouble is some team is going to throw some serious money at Joe because they missed out on the top line superstars. I don’t want him having a decision to make. If he walks then I don’t know what we do. I guess Crawford starts. I need to be more in tune with the salary cap because I don’t know how much we will have to pay Horford and if that with resigning Joe will put us near the luxury tax. We don’t have luxury tax owners I am afraid. Especially not with the arena half full every other night.

  • KWillis

    Here is one more question I just thought of. What will the market be for Mike Woodson this off season? I mean as Hawk fans we almost assume that it would be ludicrous to think that some other team would want him. I mean look at his resume though and through it all he has been the constant. 13 wins all the way to hopefully 50+. It is hard for me to imagine and I don’t have a clue whose jobs will be open.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Also, we mustn’t forget all of the money they’re losing on the Thrashers. I’m not saying the owners are broke or even close to it, but they are thrifty and that could be because there are too many of them so it’s going to be nearly impossible to get them to agree about how much money to spend. One thing I do know is that no team in recent history has won a championship and been under the salary cap. It’s just not happening. We will find out if this team of owners is trying to compete or just be competitive if you know what I mean. I’m all for them letting this season play out to see where we stand. They surprised me by offering Joe a contract this summer because they’ve taken the wait and see approach with everyone else. I guess we’ll see where Joe’s head is at. I am eventually going to do a post assessing the value of each of our core guys. I will not be using statistics, just the eye test. Haha. As far as Woody, I think if the Hawks offer him a contract, he’ll come back even if some other team goes after him. I could see where he’d be annoyed that they’re making him coach this season as a lame duck, but he has to understand that he’s only had one winning season despite two playoff appearances. It’s not asking too much that he prove he can sustain it. I honestly think the Hawks have some really good pieces in place, so finding another coach won’t be a tough task. If Sund really is constructing this team in the image of the Pistons then maybe letting Joe walk isn’t the end of the world. The four guys behind Joe are no slouches and truth be told, Joe isn’t the best player on the team so much as he gets the most opportunities. Not to say he isn’t the most skilled offensively, but he tends to put himself in very disadvantageous situations. He’ll pass up open shots and dribble into contested ones. It’s mind boggling. Now I’m rambling. Address what you will of this post. Haha.

  • KWillis

    One thing is for sure, if you resign Joe Johnson and maybe even if you don’t, there will be plenty of interest in the coaching job. We haven’t always been able to say that. That said barring a collapse and first round loss it is Woody’s job if he wants it. No doubt in my mind. I almost think Woodson is probably the key to getting Joe back. Let me know when you get your eye test post up, I want to read it. Thanks for the commentary today. I have enjoyed it.

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    Thanks for entertaining me. I will be visiting this site regularly.

  • KWillis

    I appreciate it

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