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Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Fro That Is No Mo

Because (a) Hawks season is around the corner and I am quite ready for basketball season and (b) I’m tired of staring at my horribly errant projection regarding the Crimson "Hang on while we wait for the officials to hand out another 60 yards of terrible penalties" Tide game: It’s time for some Hawks Tawk. Oh yeah, I just did that.

The loss of Josh Childress as he goes on his National Lampoon’s European Vacation tour won’t be as significant as most pundits seem to think. While it is true that Childress was vital as back up PG/SG/SF and even PF at times and was the only strong bench player, his presence on the court also hindered things at times. Here is how the team looked with him on the floor at various positions depending upon whom he was replacing:

At PG: Childress, Joe, Marvin, Josh Smith, Al. While a capable ball-handler, he was never a threat to score and didn’t have the passing ability to be a facilitator. Lacking any real shot, the defense could load up on Joe and clog the passing lanes.
At SG: Bibby, Childress, Marvin, JS, Al. While having a seasoned PG on the court to distribute the ball will help for offensive movement, with no great outside shooters on the court (especially if Bibby was riding a cold-streak), the defense could collapse down low and force low percentage jumpers from Bibby, Marvin, and JS.
At SF: Bibby, Joe, Childress, JS, Al. Probably the best position for him in relation to keeping spacing for the others. He can cut and dive to the basket for easy buckets, but doesn’t really have the strength to finish in traffic. Relies more on angles and with JS and Al down low struggles to find lanes. One option is to pull JS out a little but that would leave JS open for ill-advised jumpers.
At PF: Bibby, Joe, Marvin, Childress, Al. Besides getting abused on the defensive end, Childress doesn’t have the frame to back people down or the height to finish over them. Most of the time, this lineup would push Marvin into the 4 where he wasn’t suited yet.

That isn’t to say that the team won’t miss him. He was our most intelligent player and a great on-ball defender adept at cleaning up errant shots. However, the development of Acie Law (who got a bad rap last year while trying to play injured) and Horford (who will be stronger down low after a season of experience) combined with the maturation of Marvin and JS will create a stronger starting 5 with a more adept backup PG. The additions of Flip Murray to solidify the PG rotation (and Speedy if he actually plays), Mo Evans as a capable bench scorer, and Randolph Morris to give the front lines some beef when ZaZa goes on a fouling spree should create a deeper bench. Personally I’d rather have 2-3 good bench players rather than 1 great one, which is what I think we did. It enables the team more flexibility and gives the roster more places to turn when injuries and tired-ness come along.

I also wouldn’t underestimate ‘Super’ Mario West. He brings the same energy and intelligence that Childress brought and with more playing time could prove to be a very valuable asset off the bench for the Hawks.


Daniel said...

No Solo love?

MLT said...

I'm married. I have plenty of Solo love.

oh. you meant Solo Jones. I just don't see how we gets into the rotation at PF/C with Josh, Marvin, Al, ZaZa, and Randolph.

Daniel said...

You really think Morris is that much better? He's played like 10 minutes total in the pros. I mean I hope he develops on some of the potential he shows, but I love Solo's ability to block shots.

MLT said...

We have a shot blocker already. It's not like we need to put Solo in for Josh. And we can't exactly play them together or we'll get demolished on the boards. I like Morris because he's thicker. I like my bench big men to be...big men, I guess.