MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: For all that Joe Johnson and Josh Smith did for the Hawks, leading the team in just about every statistical category between them, veteran point guard Mike Bibby was the runaway winner for the team's most valuable player. The Hawks dealt with myriad injuries during the season and were able to tread water without everyone but Bibby. In the two games he missed, the Hawks got belted by 31 points at home by the Los Angeles Clippers and lost a heartbreaker in Denver when a healthy Bibby might have made the difference between winning and losing. His steady hand at the controls the last year and half meant the difference between a stumbling and bumbling 30-something win team and a 47-win team that earned one of the top four seeds in the Eastern Conference playoff field.MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER: For the second year in a row, Acie Law IV's season was marred by injuries and his inability to carve out a niche for himself in the Woodson's playing rotation. The No. 11 pick in the 2008 NBA draft, Law's time with the Hawks might be up. They can't afford to wait any longer for him to assert himself.
FREE AGENT FOCUS: Four of the Hawks' top eight players (Marvin Williams, Mike Bibby, Zaza Pachulia and Flip Murray) are free agents this summer. Williams is restricted but the rest, along with reserve forward/center Solomon Jones, are unrestricted. That means the Hawks will either have to pay to keep their core group intact or beat the free-agent bushes to replace half their team. Everything hinges on what the Hawks are able to do in the draft or with their draft picks. Since the draft is three weeks before free agents can sign new contracts, what they do on draft night will impact what they do once the free-agent frenzy gets started.
--F Josh Smith didn't just outscore all the Hawks' other starters (26-25) in their season-ending Game 4 loss to Cleveland in the Eastern Conference semifinals, he also led the Hawks in scoring (17.1), rebounds (7.5), blocks (1.5) and steals (1.1, he tied with Flip Murray) in 11 postseason games. He only shot 42 percent from the floor and a putrid 13 percent (2-for-15) from beyond the 3-point line. But he raised his dismal free-throw shooting percentage from the regular season up 72 percent during the playoffs.
Still, there are those who criticize Smith for not being able to knock down the open 16-footers both the Heat and Cavaliers dared him to take every game. If Smith wants to silence his critics, he'll need to return with a much more sound outside game.
--Not everyone was as eager as Joe Johnson to hang up his sneakers and practice gear when the season ended.
Veteran point guard Mike Bibby, a free agent this summer, hit the weight room for a quick session after his exit interviews with Hawks coach Mike Woodson and general manager Rick Sund.
"I'm just getting my work in," a smiling Bibby said as he passed through the hallway outside the Hawks' locker room on his way. "You can't ever stop working."
--C Al Horford isn't accustomed to early exits from the postseason. At Florida, he won back-to-back titles in his final two seasons.
In two seasons with the Hawks, Horford's team has exited the playoffs earlier than his stomach can take both times.
"This still sucks," he said as cleaned out his locker. "I don't care how you swing, having to go home while other teams are still playing sucks."
--Al Horford (right ankle) won't need surgery in the offseason and will be ready for training camp.
--Marvin Williams (right wrist, back) won't need surgery in the offseason but his injury issues will add a little spice to his negotiations for a new contract from the Hawks (or perhaps another team).