The Hawks have back issues. First it was the flu, now it is this. I assume most people would say Marvin Williams' back is the most important one to monitor. For the long term future of the Hawks, that is without question true. But what about for this playoff series? Two other Hawks have back injuries Zaza Pachulia and Acie Law. Who do the Hawks need most healthy for this match up against the Heat. Is it really so cut and dry?
Acie Law IV
Not sure if you heard, but Mike Woodson asks a lot of Joe Johnson. Sometimes I think Joe doesn't dunk because Woodson does not allow him too. For this series, I am assuming Joe will called upon to score 24-30 points a game, throw out more than five assists, play a lot of man to man defense on Dwayne Wade, and make up for Mike Bibby and Flip Murray's defensive shortcomings.
I don't think Acie is any kind of defensive specialist (Not that I would have enough data even if he was), but I do think he can hold his own. He played a great game against Chris Paul. Plus, he knows Mario Chalmers from his Big 12 days. Apples to oranges a bit, but I think Acie could alleviate some of Joe's work for a stretch. And I would be very upset if the Hawks allowed another player to beat them due to a mismatch that was not Dwayne Wade related.
Plus, in a seven game series, I think Woodson is going to have to limit Bibby's minutes a bit for him to stay fresh.
Would Woody actually play him? Are Mike Bibby's defensive liabilities really more important in this series than what Zaza and Marvin bring to the table? Two years in and I really do not know if Acie Law is a serviceable NBA player or not...I just baselessly think he is.
Every game, Zaza rides the crest of the hard verses dirty foul wave. He surfs that bad boy almost every time he comes in, and I hope he fouls Dwayne Wade hard early and often. It is not going to stop Dwayne from coming into the lane. The dude is a warrior, but it may make him wish he didn't have to to win.
Also, those non "Zaza offensive rebounds" offensive rebounds are exponentially more important in the playoffs. Extra possessions are not just the difference in a player's plus/minus or halftime score or even a game, they can be the difference in a series. Especially one that goes seven games.
I don't want to see Solo in the game. I don't care how thin Miami is. Put Mario West at the five. Better yet we just need Zaza's full 20-25 minutes.
Can't Zaza do what we need him to do with a sore back? Heck maybe he won't move so much on his screens.
He can be a legit offensive threat. Marvin has the size and skill to take Jamario Moon down low or outside. He can stop those famous 5 minute plus Hawk scoring droughts with a mid range jumper or a trip to the foul line. Really, Marvin does a lot of things well on the offensive end that most of the other Hawks simply can't replicate. Example: Have a mustache. Another example: Get to the line and make the shot.
Marvin can annoy elite small forwards players on defense, and he does not mind hitting the clutch shot...even if the Hawks still end up losing the game (I hate you Paul Pierce).
The Heat do not have any elite threes.
Marvin is a good man to man defender, but he is nothing special in the help defense category. Is the Hawks main issue with the Heat really offense and have I mentioned people are going to need to help on Wade yet? He has the biggest stamina issue even if he is healthy. Ok, maybe Zaza still has the biggest stamina issue.
So in this world of hypothetical healing. Who you got? Who do you want totally healed (minus stamina) for the series against the Heat. Bring up any factors I missed that helped you make your decision. No cheating so don't look ahead to the second round.