The Hawks FINALLY got a point guard. Who was the last legitimate point we had? Was it Mookie Blaylock? I don’t know. I’ve been working with a therapist to block out all Hawks’ seasons between 1998 and 2007, so I couldn’t tell you. And don’t say Jason Terry. JT’s not a point guard. If he’s a point guard, I’m a power forward.
Anyway, Mike Bibby is here, and I’m ecstatic. I can’t believe that the shit pile we gave Sacramento was the best deal they had on the table. Maybe the versatility of Tyronn Lue to play for the Kings and Sacramento’s WNBA team as Dawn Staley was what sealed it. I don’t know. Tyronn, we will not forget you. I currently have images of you in my head running down the court, while Britney Spears’ “Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” plays in the background, with your long dreadlocks flapping in the wind.
Anyway, back to the trade. The Hawks gave up Lue/Staley, Shelden Williams (worthless since the day we drafted him), Lorenzen Wright (58 year old benchwarmer) and Anthony Johnson (a poor man/woman’s Tyronn Lue) for one of the premier point guards in the game. They gave up a bunch of guys that would barely make the floor at the local YMCA pickup game (okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but work with me here) for a guy that can handle, distribute, and shoot from outside. I am still on Cloud 9.
Of course, the knee-jerk reaction contingent calls the trade a failure because the Hawks have lost 6 of 9 since acquiring Bibby. They say the Hawks are “losers” in the deal because Bibby didn’t have the “Gasol Effect” of instant success. Those people, as I’ve said in this space before, are idiots. Bibby is a point guard. Point guard is the closest comparison to a quarterback in all of sports. It’s much harder for a point guard to come into a new team and develop instant chemistry, figure out where he can contribute the most, and learn everyone’s tendencies. Bibby has to learn where Joe Johnson likes the ball. He has to learn to not, under any circumstances, give it to Josh Smith outside the 3-point line, or he
might take will miss a bad shot. There is a lot more pressure on a point guard than on any other position when joining a new team.
The Hawks may not make the playoffs this year. They may continue to lose games at a 67% clip as they’ve been doing since the Bibby trade. But as I heard someone else say earlier today, Bibby is still much better than any point guard the Hawks could get through the draft this year, and with an entire off-season and training camp to get to know his teammates better, we’ll get a true glimpse of what we originally expected from Bibby. He will make this team infinitely better.
Head Coach Mike Woodson is a different matter. As stated above, I hate knee-jerk reactions, which are so prevalent in sports today. So I gave Woodson a chance when he coached the team to a 13-69 record his first year. I touted the progress when they doubled that win total the second year. I urged patience the year after when it felt like they took one step forward and two steps back (because Opposites Attract), and I defended him this year because he didn’t have the horses to win.
*Quick Aside: My buddy Kevin used to sing “We come together ’cause my boyfriend’s a cat” instead of “opposites attract.” For some reason, that always makes me chuckle.
Now, I look back on his tenure, and his record is 93-211. At times, he has looked clueless on the court. His in-game strategy leaves a lot to be desired, witnessed by the Hawks’ poor record in close games. His mysterious handling of guys like Salim Stoudamire is questionable, at best. His insistence on running a predominantly half-court offense, when the team is clearly built for a more up-tempo style, is just annoying at this point. Of course the blame for many of these shortcomings could be placed upon the players (specifically, let’s hope the team’s performance in close games improves with Bibby on board). I don’t know. I’m not ready to call for Woodson’s head, but he should recognize the fact that the onus is on him now. He has his point guard (Bibby), he has his big (Horford), he has his scorer (Johnson), and he has the rest of the supporting cast (Smith, Childress, etc.).
You’re on borrowed time now, Woody. Step it up!