It's my recollection that expectations for Acie Law IV's rookie season were realistically modest. Law dominated the ball at Texas A&M to a degree that he could/should not be realistically expected to match on an NBA team. He did not take great advantage of the college three-point line (though his relatively few attempts could be devastatingly effective). There were legitimate questions about his ability to defend NBA point guards.
Despite the frustrating fact that none of these concerns were addressed during his rookie season, it would be difficult to blame Law for these concerns lingering. The lack of developments (either a positive or negative) in his rookie season is due more to the injury he suffered on November 14th as a result of a pointless, dangerous display of empty, false hustle by Ryan Hollins and Mike Woodson's complete disinterest in giving Law a chance to learn how to be an NBA point guard should doing so in any way risk Woodson's tenuous prospects of future employment as an NBA head coach.
Given three below-average options at point guard to start the season (Law, Anthony Johnson, and Tyronn Lue), Woodson decided not to make a decision and just play three point guards. Sometimes even all in the first quarter. Lest even this depth chart-less approach seem to be the result of a coach trying to make the best of a bad situation rather than another example of Woodson's inability to think ahead thus causing him to do nothing other than react to every occurrence, keep in mind that Woodson managed to get Law and Lue on the court at the same time for almost 74 minutes (further keeping in mind that Law and Lue were both healthy for only 22 games) of game play. That's two small point guards, both poor defenders, one of whom has no off-the-ball skills, (Seriously, Law would trace an arc around the perimeter following Lue's dribbling while asking for the ball. Law had no idea what to do or how to move without the basketball.) and the other who has little interest in letting his teammates touch the ball outside of an offensive rebounding context. Those were completely wasted minutes for Law.
After the Hawks acquired Mike Bibby, Law struggled to get minutes (when healthy) as Woodson rode his starters (at least those who weren't in danger of potentially getting into foul trouble) nightly in an effort to make what is shaping up to be an extremely counterproductive playoff appearance. The silver lining there might be that the Bibby/Law backcourt was avoided for all but 3 minutes of game time.
Not that Law deserved to be handed minutes. The quality of his play was inconsistent and cumulatively it was quite poor. Only Zaza Pachulia and Solomon Jones (among his teammates) turned the ball over more frequently. Law's assist rate was closer to Josh Smith's and Tyronn Lue's than it was to Joe or Anthony Johnson's and nowhere near Mike Bibby's. Law's jump shooting resembled Smith's as well. Law made just 7 of 34 three-point attempts (20.6%) and 33 of 99 jump shots from inside the arc. Unfortunately, though, Law would get a few minutes at the end of the first- or start of the second-quarter during which he would play good, bad, or indifferent basketball which wouldn't matter because he wouldn't get off the bench at any point in the second half anyway.
I still don't know if Acie Law will develop into a league-average starting point guard (though I suspect that's the most optimistic scenario for him). I do believe that the brief flashes of good play we saw from him last season and his outstanding college career make it a reasonable expectation that he play 15 minutes a game backing up Mike Bibby and run a lot of pick-and-roll with Zaza Pachulia
I'm rooting for Law to succeed.
Up next: Zaza Pachulia