I know that 99.9% of you don’t give two shits about the Atlanta Hawks.
For that reason, I almost never blog about them, because I know y’all don’t care. But the fact of the matter is, is that I’m a die hard Atlanta fan. The Braves are my favorite ATL team, but the Hawks aren’t far behind. I grew up playing basketball and played through high school, so basketball has always been a big part of my life. I’ve probably been to over 200 hawks games, and keep in mind that I grew up during the era when the Hawks missed the playoffs and were the worst in the league for about 15 years. For those who remember the Shareef-Abdul-Rahim days, you’ll know how brutal it was rooting for this team.
But then last year happened. The Hawks came out of nowhere and absolutely lit the entire league on fire. They went from 38 wins in the 2013-14 season to a franchise record 60 wins in the 2014-15 season. They came out red hot, got even hotter in the middle of the year (winning 19 straight), and cooled off a little at the end when they eventually ran into Lebron in the playoffs. All around great season though. Nobody expected it, not even Hawks fans themselves. During the 2007-2013 era we were always decent contenders, but always seemed to finish around 6-8th place in the East and would end up with a first or second round playoff exit. Being destined for mediocrity during our best years was something that Hawks fans had become all to familiar with.
Then we hired Coach Bud from the Spurs and everything seemed to change. Front office man Danny Ferry actually made some amazing roster moves, and built one of the most well rounded teams in the NBA. Under coach Bud’s leadership, he implemented the San Antonio style of offense and roster. We acquired big and fast players, who could all score and play great defense.
I’ve said it before, but for the second straight year, we are one of the most complete teams in the NBA. Every player on this team has a role, and they know their role. The Hawks are the deepest team in the East and this will prove huge down the stretch when we have fresh legs in the playoffs. The only thing we lack is a consistent big rebounder down low, or someone to go up against a huge center such as Anthony Davis. The addition of Tiago Splitter during the off-season should prove to be a tremendous asset this year. Here are the key off-season moves by the Hawks:
Demarre Carroll– I’m going to miss watching this guy play. He was one of the hardest players last year for the hawks. He wasn’t the greatest offensive player, but he would hustle and bang harder than anyone else in the NBA. He played so well that Toronto offered him a max deal, and the Hawks had to make a decision to either pay Demarre or pay Paul Millsap. In the end the Hawks chose to pay Millsap, and had to part ways with Demarre.
Pero Antic– He was a very average center. There was no other way to describe him. He did some good things, but he would also disappear at times. He was never a great rebounder, but he was an above average offensive option for the hawks last year in limited minutes. He wasn’t very quick on his feet though, and this led to his poor defense and freaquent foul trouble. Pero left the Hawks and signed a 2 year deal with a Turkish National team in his home country.
Tiago Splitter– I love this move. It was an extremely important addition to our squad after losing the junkyard dog Demarre Carroll. Tiago fits our system nicely because he’s a long defender who’s great at passing. We won’t need him to score much, but he can do that if necessary. He scored and average of almost 8 points a game last year for the Spurs in under 17 minutes a game. That’s about double what Pero did for the Hawks last year. Splitter is known as a “High IQ” guy- someone who’s always in the right position, and always make the right play. Again, Splitter looks like he’ll be a perfect fit for the Hawks.
Justin Holiday– In the limited amount of games I’ve seen him play, it’s hard not to love this guys game. This kid has a HELL of a backstory. He went undrafted in 2011. He went and played overseas, and eventually played his way into the D-League. Finally made the NBA, and had limited stints in PHI and GS before landing with Hawks this offseason. This guy is known as a great defender who can defend multiple positions. He fills out the roster nicely to make the Hawks one of the deepest teams in the NBA. He’s mentioned himself that he’s part of an important 2nd team, and there’s no drop off in talent when the Hawks put in their second unit.
People will always overlook the hawks because of their “lack” of traditional star power and household names, and I’m absolutely fine with that. Keep doubting us, and we’ll just keep winning. On any given night we have 5-7 guys that can score double figures. Jeff Teague is a budding superstar. He could probably score 30 a night if he wanted to, but the Hawks system doesn’t require him to do so. If the Hawks can stay healthy this season (especially during the playoffs), they’ll once again meet either Toronto or Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals. Unfortunately, the Golden State Warriors are busy building a dynasty out West, and it looks like they’re going to be the team to beat for the next 5 years. We’ll see how it shakes out, but it should be a fun NBA Season none the less. Last year, was some of the most fun I’ve had watching a basketball team, and I can’t wait to do it all over again.
The hawks are currently 50-1 odds (according to oddsshark) to win the NBA Championship. That’s worth every penny.