Hidden in the Box Score

Tuesday, December 7, 2010
By Jon Newberry

Last night the Hawks got a big win in a place where wins have been hard to come by, beating the top team in the Southeast Division with Joe Johnson out of the line-up.

Looking at the box score you have to give props to J-Smoove (19 pts, 13 reb) and Al Horford (16 pts, 10 reb). Anytime your frontcourt can post those kinds of numbers against the physical presence of a Dwight Howard you have to be pleased.

However, hidden in the box score there is one number that jumps out at me: Mike Bibby, +19.

Plus/Minus stats have just become common place in box scores over the past few seasons, and to tell you the truth I don’t always put a lot of stock in them. There are two types of players that I DO pay attention to the +/-, and they are defensive-minded players (think Ben Wallace) and point guards.

It is easy to notice when point guards throw up big numbers with points and assists, but the other quality that is needed to be an elite point guard is just the ability to “run the offense” and get people the ball in the right spots. Bibby is a veteran in every sense of the word and his basketball IQ has got to be off the charts. People love to point out his deficiencies with defense and foot speed, but the fact remains that the Hawks are a better team when he is on the court. Add in the fact that he has always been money in clutch situations and you can see why Coach Drew called his number multiple times down the stretch last night.

Oh yeah, clutch or not, he is leading the league in 3-point percentage while shooting an amazing 53% from behind the arc.