No player on the roster is scrappier or goes harder in practice or games than Mario West, making him the ideal type of player for the end of a roster."He'd run through this brick wall right here if they told him to," Hawks captain Joe Johnson said.
There's no question West is committed to doing whatever it takes to make the roster, hence his breakneck pace every day. That's would explain West's decision to wage an all-out battle for a roster spot.
"I'll do whatever it takes to get that roster spot," West said. "The guys know it and the coaches know it. I'm just doing whatever I can to bring that defensive intensity and all around energy."
G Mike Bibby is in the final year of a deal that will pay him a whopping $15.5 million. Is he too expensive to keep around all year or does he make this team go? It's hard to tell right now.
G Joe Johnson vindicated his move to the Hawks with a playoff berth last season. Now he has to lead this team beyond the first round to legitimize his stardom.
F Marvin Williams has to have a breakout season or risk becoming the cautionary tale from the 2005 draft class. Williams has been reasonably steady throughout his career but has yet to have a true breakout season.
F Josh Smith emerged during the playoffs as one of the most mercurial talents in the league, a player that can elevate his game in big games but also falter on the big stage as he did in Game 7 in Boston. The Hawks need more of what he gave them in those three home playoff wins.
C Al Horford will continue to play out of position until something is done to insert him at his more natural power forward spot (moving Smith to his more natural small forward). In the meantime, Horford will continue to post double-double numbers and play his role.
ANALYZING KEY RESERVES:
G Acie Law IV could eventually make Mike Bibby expendable.
G Flip Murray is a legitimate option as a starter or reserve at both guard spots.
F Maurice Evans, the Hawks' replacement for Josh Childress, has big shoes to fill.
F Solomon Jones was arguably the Hawks' most improved player last season.
C Zaza Pachulia needs to have a big season in his contract year.
G Speedy Claxton, if healthy, can be a third option at point guard.
G Thomas Gardner, a young shooter, should help in practice.
F Othello Hunter is a steal with huge upside.
F Mario West just keeps popping up. Mr. Energy.
C Randolph Morris needs a second chance that includes playing time.
G Marvin Williams (sprained thumb) is already back on the practice floor and should be fine for the final two preseason games next week. G Speedy Claxton (strained hamstring) has missed the first five preseason games but could be ready to work by next week. G Mike Bibby (strained oblique) missed two preseason games but is fine and will resume game action this weekend in Charlotte.