Friday, June 05, 2009

2008-09 Season Review: Acie Law IV

Acie Law IV's future in Atlanta is tenuous at best. His second season was even more of a lost year than his first. Examining where he is now and what he might become as a player requires such a series of assumptions and suppositions regarding his ability, his health, and his future circumstances that even if some or those assumptions and suppositions prove true it's unlikely to have any beneficial effect for the Atlanta Hawks franchise.

Acie Law played one game and 305 minutes fewer in 2008-09 than in 2007-08. Some of that was due to injury. Some of that was due to Law's play. Most of that was due to the play of Mike Bibby and Flip Murray and Mike Woodson's comfort with veteran guards. If, in Law's rookie season, it too often appeared as if Law was not allowed to play through his mistakes, then in Law's second season Woodson largely declined to give Law the opportunity to make any mistakes in the first place.

In the short-term, it's not an indefensible decision but in the long-term it's a waste of a resource. Even if one accepts that Law is a poor fit alongside Joe Johnson, burying Law on the bench for two seasons seriously deflates the trade value of a player who was largely assumed to be at least a quality backup point guard coming out of college. As it stands now, a team that still believes in Law's potential or even one that actively desires acquiring him has no incentive for offering anything of value to a team that so clearly doesn't value either his current ability of future potential.

I don't have a strong opinion about Law's potential beyond believing that it's in his best interest to play for another team, another coach rather than remaining stuck in Atlanta as the last example of the dysfunctional relationship between Mike Woodson and Billy Knight. He's played but 1425 minutes across two seasons. That's 12.8 minutes per game, many of them spent playing out of position or running out garbage time.

It can't be ignored he hasn't played especially well, but, despite the utter lack of confidence shown in him last season there were some tangible improvements, some reasons to believe beyond the shared anecdotal belief that were Law just to make a higher percentage of shots at and around the basket* he'd approach, at minimum, league-average bench production.

*He's a 47% shooter in the paint (accounting for 58.8% of his field goal attempts, 70.6% of his two-point attempts) through two seasons.

Season2PTFG%3PTFG%FT%FT RateTS%Pts/36A/36TO/36PER
  • Scoring up.
  • Three-point shooting up.
  • Three-point attempts up.
  • Free throw rate up.
  • Assists up.
  • Turnovers down.
This is the profile of a player making adjustments to the league, to his team's system, to his teammates in the understanding that his existing strengths are not going to be catered to. This is not the profile of a hopeless case no matter how hopeless his future is in Atlanta.

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