No Joe+No Jamal=True Test

Thursday, December 16, 2010
By Jon Newberry

Word was just released that Jamal Crawford will miss tonight’s game against the Boston Celtics with a sore back. This news is especially disappointing because Jamal always gets fired up for the bright lights of national television.

With Jamal joining Joe Johnson on the inactive list Atlanta is left without the two players on their roster that are skilled at creating their own shot. This sets up a huge test for Head Coach Larry Drew’s motion offense that is predicated more on ball movement and sharing the basketball. With this offense in place the absence of Joe and Jamal should not be as devastating as in years past when so much of the offense relied on isolations. But we will still need to make shots.

Joe and Jamal give the Hawks over 30 points per game and take about 27 shots per game. That is a lot of production, but also a lot of scoring opportunities, that will be up for grabs tonight.

If recent play is any indication, look for Al Horford and Josh Smith to step in and be more assertive on the offensive end. Also look for Marvin to have his number called a few more times.

Personally I am interested to see what effect this has on defense and rebounding. It is a good bet that Damien Wilkins could see increased minutes with Jamal on the sidelines, and he will probably look to harass Paul Pierce into taking contested jump shots. Wilkins adds a lot to the Hawks on the defensive end, and his size and hustle should also help on the boards.