Previously: Jamal Crawford, Jeff Teague and Zaza Pachulia, Maurice Evans, Josh Powell, Jordan Crawford, Etan Thomas and Jason Collins, Pape Sy
Entering 2010-11 Mike Bibby is...
a) no longer a quality NBA starter.
b) a chilling harbinger of what can happen to an organization that pays players as if they will not decline with age.
c) the player Larry Drew should start at point guard.
d) all of the above
I lean toward 'd' myself. Amusing as the machinations were, Mike Woodson did a decent job of hiding Bibby defensively last season, primarily by giving him the bulk of his minutes alongside the team's three good defenders: Marvin Williams, Josh Smith, and Al Horford. In 2009-10, 58.5% of Bibby's defensive possessions came with the starting frontcourt also on the floor. The difference between Bibby playing alongside that complete set of defenders and playing alongside any other combination of teammates was 6 points per 100 possessions.
Though Bibby does his best to make up for his inability to move laterally by gambling for steals and flopping at the merest chance of drawing a charge, he's a very poor defender. Moving Bibby to the bench and giving him the bulk of his minutes alongside Jamal Crawford, an out-of-position Maurice Evans, and the dregs of the post rotation would only* exacerbate the team's defensive weaknesses.
*I guess it could also turn the starters into rogue MVP candidates for hard-core plus/minus enthusiasts.
Whether due to his continued decline or Jeff Teague's improvement, Bibby figures to set a career low in minutes per game for a second consecutive season. It's probably in the best interest of both the Atlanta Hawks and Larry Drew that as many of those minutes* as possible come at the start of the first and third quarters alongside the three Hawks capable of pulling extra defensive weight.
*I imagine something between 16 and 20 minutes per game is the ideal target.