Tuesday, September 28, 2010

2010-11 Season Preview: Etan Thomas and Jason Collins

Both are several years removed from their last productive campaign. Neither should be expected to make a positive impact at either end of the court. As the fifth and sixth big men, the third and fourth centers on the roster, neither should be expected to play barring injury or blowout. They don't figure to be relevant to the success or failure of 2010-11 Atlanta Hawks on the court.

They are relevant in terms of the team's salary cap, roster construction, and organizational philosophy. Every team hopes their third-string center maintains a redundant role throughout the season. A second third-string center is a double-barreled redundancy. For a team operating near the luxury tax line (a team, in this case, near the luxury tax line with four centers but without a backup small forward or a proven quality defender in the backcourt) the $854,389 spent on a second washed-up center in his 30s creates more limitations than opportunities. Especially in the case of Collins, whose no-trade clause could insure that he wastes a roster spot all season should the Hawks choose to address the weaknesses that could cause problems for them in the 78 games they won't be facing Dwight Howard.

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