Injury Bug Takes a Bite
The injury bug has missed biting the Hawks all season long and now has shown up to nibble on major components of the team. Joe Johnson and Mike Bibby are a bit wounded as the Hawks face the Nets, which is new to a team with fewer than 20 man games missed this season.
Great attributes of this season have been that the starters and bench players have been able to play all season, and build chemistry without having to mix and match different lineups. Playing without Joe will reveal a lot about the team.
Johnson banged up does ring a bell of concern, but the way the team has shared the basketball all season, should provide confidence to coach Woodson and to the fans. The team has been able to get more rest than ever before and now is the time for the team to step up and use the rested legs this season.
For the first time as an Atlanta Hawk, Joe is not in the top six in minutes played in the NBA. As a matter of fact, for the first time in his Atlanta career, he is not in the top ten (he is 11th) in minutes played. That shows that the bench has been able to extend the minutes that the starters get to rest. Coach Woodson is very comfortable in his rotations and will expect guys to step up in the absence of the floor general.
Horford and Johnson were both hurt during last year’s playoff run, severely limiting their effectiveness. The spin I put on the nicks that Joe and Bibby have is…better now than later. Both of these guys need to be as close to “max Q” as possible when the post season rolls around and anything nagging needs to be nursed now.
The Hawks have two missions the rest of the way, continue to track down the Magic and keep the troops healthy. Charlotte is done in their quest to catch Atlanta or Orlando, so the Hawks to don’t have to look in the rear view anymore. It’s the Magic or the 4 seed down the stretch.
WHO WILL MAKE THE MOST OF JOE’S MINUTES?
Will it be the Jamal Crawford show, the Josh Smith experience or will the love be spread around?
Will Jeff Teague get in earlier and stay longer if Joe is limited in the upcoming games?
WHO IS THE BENCH HERO TO BE?
Mo Evans could play a big role if he gets more minutes this week. Woody loves Evans’ defense and Evans is always looking to score when he gets an opportunity.