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.