Al made John Hollinger’s Kevin Love All-Stars team at ESPN.com. That’s guys who need to be set free (Insider):
Atlanta Hawks coach Larry Drew has presented himself as different from predecessor Mike Woodson, but one piece of Woodson era foolishness remains: The Hawks’ insistence on pulling anybody with two fouls in the first half. Horford has been ridiculously good this year, ranking fourth in the NBA in PER, but is playing only 29.9 minutes per game because of the coach’s silly stipulation.
It isn’t hurting only Horford; it also cost the Hawks a game in Orlando. Horford went to the bench with just two fouls and 5:33 still remaining in the first half, and in came Etan Thomas. (Yes, Etan Thomas. Zaza Pachulia also had two fouls by this point, and God forbid the backup center pick up three fouls in the first half. We might need him if there’s a fourth overtime.) A three-point lead quickly became a four-point deficit at the break, and Atlanta lost by four. Horford finished the game with four fouls, but his coach effectively fouled him out in the second quarter.
L.D. has said he wouldn’t necessarily always bench Al when he picks up two fouls in the first half. But, to my recollection, he only left him out there once in that situation and then only briefly.
More trade talk
At least this trade rumor didn’t involve Smoove (or even a different “core” player).
ESPN.com’s Marc Stein updated his early trade winds report to say the Kings offered Jason Thompson in a deal “featuring” Teague but the Hawks declined.
The Hawks don’t need really another power forward at the expense of losing their only backup point guard–particularly a power forward who is shooting more and more jumpers and isn’t stout around the rim. Though I guess that kind of describes Josh Powell, doesn’t it?
Bibby has no regrets
Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports talks to Bibby about declaring for the 1998 draft despite the threat of a labor lockout, a choice this year’s draft prospects likely face unless there is some breakthrough in labor talks:
Atlanta Hawks point guard Mike Bibby(notes) understands the difficult decision some college underclassmen and international NBA prospects will face in the spring. He had to make a similar choice in 1998 whether to leave Arizona early with the NBA on the brink of a lockout.
Bibby opted to declare for the draft. He was taken second overall by the Vancouver Grizzlies, after which the league entered a lockout. The season did not start until Feb. 5, 1999, and teams played a truncated 50-game schedule. Because he wasn’t getting paid during the lockout and didn’t want to risk injury before he signed a contract, Bibby worked out but didn’t scrimmage in pick-up games.
“It was tough,” Bibby said. “I didn’t spend money I didn’t have. I didn’t go do anything out of the ordinary.
“I never had any regrets about leaving early. The main reason I went to Arizona was because of what they did for guards there. I didn’t plan on staying long.”
Bibby more aggressive?
Lang Greene of Hoopsworld talked to Bibby about his relationship with Teague but this was the quote that caught my eye:
“I’ve been more aggressive (this season),” Bibby explained to HOOPSWORLD. “I’m just trying to make things happen. I’m getting to the basket a lot more than I did last year. The year before and trying to get a contract over the summer (2009), you really don’t want to do anything that would get you hurt. So I kind of took it easy last summer. This summer I took care of my body, ate better and did extra running. So I’m ready.”
Bibby actually is getting to the basket at about the same rate as last season, which is hardly at all. Neither is this supposed newly-discovered aggressiveness leading to assists at a higher rate.
I have noticed that so far Bibby is setting himself up for jumpers more often by pump-faking defenders who close out and then stepping in to shoot. He also seems more likely to slip into space with a few dribbles before launching. Those observations are reflected by the much lower assist rate this season for his baskets from 16 to 23 feet.
But basically Bibby remains the same: a very good spot-up shooter who hardly ever turns the ball over and whose diminished ability to guard the ball causes major breakdowns in Atlanta’s defense.