Going into Friday's post-trade match-up with Golden State I was most interested in how the substitution patterns would look especially after learning Jeff Teague would get the start. My thoughts pre-game were that Teague would likely start and then disappear into the background with Jamal Crawford manning the point guard position. Things didn't go that way and right now we can't be sure if the this was a one time rotation based on playing a speedy Golden State team or something that we will see again in the future.
Normally before the Mike Bibby trade, Jamal Crawford would be the first sub into the game for Bibby at the point position. Friday night, Jamal was once again the first sub off the bench but instead checked in for Marvin Williams. That gave the Hawks a lineup of Teague, and Crawford in the backcourt with Joe Johnson at small forward. I cringed at the thought of Jamal guarding Monta Ellis but with Teague effectively locking up Stephen Curry, the results weren't as damaging. In fact Crawford could be much more effective playing next to Teague or Kirk Hinrich.
The question is, once Hinrich is acclimated to what the Hawks want to do will Teague once again fade into the background. I for one hope that this doesn't happen. I would much rather see Jamal Crawford minutes fluctuate depending on how well his shot is going down. Many of you here at Peachtree Hoops have pointed out Larry Drew's preference for shot makers in the lineup. With the playoffs rapidly approaching, maybe a more defensive mindset is appropriate all the time and not just when they play good offensive teams.
Kirk Hinrich can shoot the basketball we all know that. We also know that he will make the correct pass. Playing Hinrich or Teague could help the offense as long as both of these players are committed to getting the ball moving the way it did against Golden State. When this Atlanta team shares the ball and plays somewhat of an inside-out approach, they are really tough to guard.
Defensively I felt like there was an impact made but I am not ready to completely pin that on the subtraction of Mike Bibby just yet. If you remember correctly in the match-up at Philips Arena, Atlanta did an excellent job defensively on both Curry and Ellis. It was Dorrell Wright that went crazy on offense. In Friday night's game, Atlanta solved all three puzzles. Sure both Teague and Hinrich are better individual defenders than Bibby but I also saw the other four Hawks on the floor defending the perimeter, closing out on shooters, and crashing the defensive boards. It may very well have been one of the best defensive performances from this club this season.
Besides from an X's and O's standpoint maybe the trade did rattle the cage so to speak. Bibby was a leader in that Hawks locker room and if he could get traded then anyone could. Lets just hope that they can keep that level of focus going into tonight's game against Portland.