Atlanta Hawks’ Road To NBA Title


The Atlanta Hawks are the best team in the Eastern Conference. Defeating team after team and doing it in a fashion that does not require a superstar. The question is, is this squad capable of going all the way and bringing a championship to Atlanta?

To gauge how well the Hawks can fare in the postseason, we need to look at how they fare against other playoff bound teams from both conferences. But first, we must discuss how the Hawks actually go about their winning ways.

By now, the similarities between the Hawks and the Spurs are well documented. Whether it is ball movement or the need for high character players on the roster, both teams approach excellence the same way. And if it works, why not? The Hawks rank in top 10 of both offensive and defensive efficiency, which has been a characteristic of championship squads.

The Hawks use their depth and unselfishness to get production from every player. There is always someone new stepping up for them, that has been the story for them the whole season long. Fortunately, that kind of production helps the overall confidence of the team and prepares them for the playoffs, where you always need guys stepping up.

The East has three complete championship squads including the Hawks. The other two, Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bulls are playing without Derrick Rose but are rolling in the right direction. When he comes back, it’ll be a big boost for the Bulls. The Cavaliers are a young team finding its way under LeBron James and David Blatt. If anything. inexperience and chemistry issues will be their downfall. Lets take a look at how the Hawks matchup against potential championship contenders from both conferences

Chicago Bulls : On paper, the Bulls may have the best roster throughout the league. They have depth to make the Hawks pay. They can body up inside or go small and outrun the Hawks. Due to injuries, the Bulls are left with making the best with what they have. Nonetheless, even at full strength, the Hawks can beat the Bulls. Their shooting is unmatched and the Bulls will be forced to go small to defend. Unfortunately, if the shots stop falling the Hawks will lose. The Hawks claw their way out of this one in 7 hard fought games.

Cleveland Cavaliers : The recently named coach of the month, David Blatt, seems to have found the best formula for winning with this squad. Sure, having three superstars and mid-season trades help but it comes down to how the players fit together and what kind of basketball you have them playing. Blatt seems to have found some answers. Only Playoff basketball will test him. The Hawks are a sound team with no chemistry issues. They have an identity and defensive presence that gives them wins. Hawks take this in 6 games.

The East is the Atlanta Hawks to lose. Between their versatile frontline and three point shooting, they can attack any way they want and come out on top. The West is a whole other story. There are eight championship squads and any one of them could come out on top.

I’ll do my best to matchup the Hawks against each one. Lets start from the 8th seed and move upwards.

Oklahoma City Thunder : Handicapped is the word I’d use to describe the Thunder this season. They have battled injuries to both of their superstars more than once and are still playing without Kevin Durant. Fortunately, having two superstars means you can compete without one. Which is what they’ve been doing behind Russell Westbrook and his otherworldly exploits.

The Thunder also retooled their bench and their depth is a marvel to look at. When Durant returns and they figure out their chemistry, as far as the new guys are concerned, this might turn out to be the most dangerous squad in the West.

So, how can the Hawks stop them? Firstly, the Hawks frontcourt will be the key in this matchup especially it’s ability to stretch. Pulling Ibaka away from the basket will open up drives. Pero Antic will be the X-factor in this series. Hawks win this in 6.

San Antonio Spurs : Possibly the best matchup a basketball purist could ask for. Imagine little brother going up against his experienced older brother. This is what it would look like. The key to this matchup will be the defense of DeMarre Carroll. His defense on the wing against Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green will be the key. Containing them would give the Hawks the edge and the series. Hawks win this in 7.

Dallas Mavericks : We don’t know what to expect from this team come Playoff time. Their chemistry and depth issues show some vulnerability but their All-star starting lineup tells you not to bet against them. Their biggest weakness and strength is Rajon Rondo. His perimeter defense has done wonders for them but his inept shooting has left a hole on the offensive end.

A great team like the Hawks will take advantage of that. Leave Rondo open and let the help defense rotate on drives to force a turnover. Use the extra coverage on Monta Ellis or Chandler Parsons. Then there’s the lack of quality depth behind Tyson Chandler which the Hawks bench can take advantage of. Hawks take this in 6.

L.A Clippers : How do the Warriors beat the Clippers? Apply the same concepts with the Hawks but with added ball movement. I’m not saying the Hawks move the ball more than the Warriors, I’m saying that they move it better than the best team in the league. The Clippers frontline will cause some problems and leave us surprised in the end but the Hawks will eventually come out on top in 7 games.

Portland Trailblazers : Just Wing it. That should be the Hawks motto in this series. With Wesley Mathews out, the Blazers wing is exposed on both ends. Mathews defense will be missed in this series as the Hawks will feast on the Blazers wing. Hawks take this in 6.

Houston Rockets : The Hawks will need to call a great barber for this matchup. Alright, jokes aside, the Hawks really need to do something about Harden’s beard.

Other than the beard, the biggest X-factor for this series will be the play of Terrence Jones. Jones has been a beast around the basket and he can shoot from outside too. If he finds his touch from outside against the Hawks, it will be tough to contain the Rockets. Paul Millsap will be called upon to minimize his impact. Hawks take this in 7.

Memphis Grizzlies : The Grizzlies have quietly been winning and holding down the second spot in the West. Their elite defense and MVP campaign by Marc Gasol has been the key. For the Hawks to beat them, they need to target the perimeter on both ends, something at which the Hawks are best at. The Hawks take this in 5.

Golden State Warriors : The Warriors are like a fusion of the Spurs and Mavericks as far as this matchup is considered. They move the ball like the Spurs but their depth behind Bogut resembles the Mavericks. The Hawks will have their hands full in this one. Which Splash brother to stop? How to contain Draymond Green on both ends? How to contain Barnes from cutting inside? The key once again for the Hawks is the defense of DeMarre Carroll. His defense on the wing will put more pressure on Stephen Curry, which is a good thing. The Hawks take this in 7 after a very exciting series.

There you have it. To see how the Hawks really fare against the mighty West, we have to wait until June.

Next: What Does DeMarre Carroll Mean To The Hawks

More from Soaring Down South