1. They can match depth with any team anywhere. The Hawks didn’t change a starter, but they redid their bench almost completely. Zaza Pachulia and Mo Evans are still around, but Jamal Crawford represents an upgrade over Flip Murray and Jeff Teague seems more NBA-ready than Acie Law was. And even if Joe Smith doesn’t have much left, Jason Collins could be the hidden hinge to the second unit.
2. Mike Woodson has no choice but to deploy his subs. Contrary to popular belief, the coach isn’t a fool. He saw how Joe Johnson wearied at the end of last season, and he concedes he ran his starters too long. But Woody, like most coaches, trusts experience over youth, and that means he’ll give Crawford and Smith and Collins longer looks than he gave Law and Solomon Jones. And Woodson appears to have warmed to Teague already, which never happened with Law. (The feeling was mutual.)
3. Johnson won’t have to play as long or