Previously: Zaza Pachulia, Marvin Williams, Jamal Crawford, Al Horford, Josh Smith, Joe Johnson, Mike Woodson, Rick Sund
Mike Bibby's limitations have been obvious since he arrived in March 2008. This season those limitations began to surpass his contributions. For the first time in his career, Bibby played less than 30 minutes a game (27.4) and averaged fewer than 13.6 points/36 minutes (12.0). Though still a fine passer and shooter, Bibby's declining quickness makes it difficult for him to create shots either for himself or for his teammates. Bibby's assist rate declined noticeably in 2009-10 compared to his first year-plus in Atlanta as did the percentage of his made field goals which were assisted by a teammate.
Somewhat remarkably, Bibby had as many field goal attempts at the rim (45) in the entire 2009-10 season as he did in the in the 33 games he played with the Hawks in 2008.
|Bibby||%FGA (at rim)||%FGA (16-23')||3PTA/FGA|
To Bibby's credit, he appears to be doing the most he can with what he's got left: forgoing the long two-pointer in favor of more three-point attempts (as a percentage of the whole) and making an extremely high percentage (58.1%) of the rare shots (72) he gets within 10 feet.
Bibby tries to accomplish the same feat defensively but it's much more difficult to use skill to overcome a lack of size and athleticism in that aspect of the game. True, the Hawks allowed 3 fewer points per 100 possessions with Bibby on the floor than with him off the floor but I suspect that had as much to do with amount of floor time Bibby shared with Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, and Al Horford* as well as the second unit's defensive struggles than with Bibby experiencing a defensive renaissance. In both 2007-08 and 2008-09, Bibby's defensive on/off numbers more closely matched his reputation as the Hawks allowed 5.8 and 6.9 more points per 100 possessions with Bibby on the court, respectively.
*58.5% (2359 possessions) of Bibby's on-court defensive possessions were played alongside Williams, Smith, and Horford and the Hawks allowed 1.032 points per possession with those four on the floor. With Bibby on the court and any or all of Williams, Smith, and Horford off the court (1676 possessions), the Hawks allowed 1.092 points per possession.
It's difficult to imagine a scenario where Bibby plays the majority of the team's minutes at point guard next season. Bibby's 2009-10 offensive production would be perfectly acceptable (if pricey) from a backup point guard and his defensive impact would be lessened both by reduced minutes and a new head coach not designing the team's defensive game plan to best hide Bibby. Giving Jeff Teague more minutes at the point appears to be the most plausible in-house, short-term option for improving the team's defense as well as being necessary for the team's long-term player development strategy.
The plausibility of Teague playing at an acceptable level for a starter will be addressed shortly.