Solo is moving on at a time when the Hawks could use a big or two like him, which makes his departure for Indiana all the more perplexing. After all, he was a restricted free agent, due close to a $1 million if he had signed his qualifying offer (the QO was rescinded so he would be allowed to sign with the Pacers without any interruption). I needed an explanation and Solo provided one last week. “The Hawks kept it real with me,” he said. “They told me that my role was going to be pretty much the same as it was last year, and that I wouldn’t have a chance to move up and get more time unless somebody got hurt like last year. And I realize that’s just the way it’s going to be with Josh and Al [Horford] and Zaza already in place. It’s cool. I get a chance to go somewhere else and try and start over and see if there’s a chance to have a bigger role. The Pacers want me up there right away to get to work and that’s a good thing. I’m looking forward to the opportunity. But I appreciate the Hawks keeping it straight with me and not trying to sell me something that they couldn’t deliver in terms of playing time and opportunity.”Emphasis mine.
Thumbs up to Jones for his perceptive analysis* of the Hawks' post rotation which offers as good as segue as I've yet managed to broach the subject of Joe Smith in this space. Smith would be a fine addition but he (or any other serviceable veteran or intriguing young big man) will probably not have a measurable positive impact on next year's team on the court.
*Better than Sekou's ("...the Hawks could use a big or two like [Jones]...") with which one might argue were one not willing to give Mr. Smith a pass on work filed while on vacation.
Last year, with Al Horford missing 15 games, Josh Smith missing 13 games, Zaza Pachulia missing 5 games, and Marvin Williams absent for 21 games and thus unable on those nights to slide down to the four, Solomon Jones played just 675 minutes. One big guy who will almost certainly still be on the roster next season, Randolph Morris, played just 89 minutes. Another post player who might be back, Othello Hunter, played just 92 minutes.
The fourth big man in the rotation is extremely unlikely to play 1000 minutes next season. He's fairly unlikely to play 800 minutes. If either occurs, something bad has almost certainly occurred be it injury or a recurrence of the head coach's aversion to the threat of foul trouble.
Joe Smith would be a nice insurance policy, possibly provide some value as a teammate and locker room presence, and likely provide a psychologically healthier experience for Hawks fans during his brief appearances on court than Solomon Jones ever did. I'm not positive, for example, that Smith can get out to the three-point line, much less run into shooters after they've released their shot nor have I ever witnessed Smith fall down as a result of trying to catch a pass. It wouldn't be a bad signing, but it's unlikely to make much of a positive difference either.