An Appreciation of the 60-Win Hawks Team

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 29: Kyle Korver /
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ATLANTA, GA – FEBRUARY 27: The Atlanta Hawks starting five Paul Millsap
ATLANTA, GA – FEBRUARY 27: The Atlanta Hawks starting five Paul Millsap /

In February, while they did cool down a bit, losing four games, four Hawks were selected to the All-Star team ( Teague, Korver, Millsap, Horford) and were still firmly in control of the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Mike Budenholzer led the team to 60 wins in total, which is a benchmark win number, en route to a Coach of the Year trophy.

While they did have one of the best starting five’s in the league, the bench did their thing as well. Youngsters like Rising star Dennis Schröder, the emjoi-tatted Mike Scott and the feisty forward Kent Bazemore all added solid minutes and played well.

Veteran defender Thabo Sefolosha brought his playoff experience (which he didn’t get to show in the playoffs due to injury) and former first overall pick Elton Brand added 13.5 minutes a game at age 35.

Shooters like Shelvin Mack, John Jenkins, Pero Antic and Austin Daye added some bench scoring, with rookie Adreian Payne receiving very limited minutes. Second-year big man Mike Muscala rounded out the squad.

When the playoffs rolled around, the Hawks were the first seed and had their eyes set on the franchise’s first title since 1956, when the team was still located in St. Louis.  

Must Read: This Day in Hawks History, March 4

We know how it ends, of course. LeBron James, in his first year back in Cleveland, was just too much for the 60-win Hawks. The King steamrolled the Hawks to the tune of 31 points, 30 points, a 37-point, 18-rebound, 11-assist triple-double and 23 points in a 30-point, series-clinching victory. Atlanta packed it up after the Eastern Conference Finals, just four more wins away from a trip to the Finals.

Since then, the five players who won the Eastern Conference Player of the Month slowly faded to different teams, and the Hawks fell to the fourth seed in 2016, fifth seed in 2017 and finally, where the team stands today.

The Hawks are currently 20-44, meaning they’ve barely won more total games this entire season than they did in the month of January alone just three years ago. Dennis Schröder and Kent Bazemore, and Mike Muscala are the only players that remain from that heady 2014-15 team, with Dennis being one of the lone reasons Atlanta even has its meager 20 wins.

The near-constant losing these days make the 2014-15 Hawks team all the more special. Though times are tough, the Hawks should have a great chance to nab a future core in the 2018 draft. 

ATLANTA, GA – JANUARY 21:Jeff Teague
ATLANTA, GA – JANUARY 21:Jeff Teague /

There is a very popular quote by the late Dr. Seuss that should capture how Hawks fans should feel about this era: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Next: Atlanta Hawks Mock Draft 2.0

It’s unclear if this rebuild new GM Travis Schlenk is diving into will be successful, but even if the Hawks don’t ever recapture the magic (or win count) of the 2014-15 season in the future, at least we had this team: A truly great team that granted us four All-Stars, a 19-game win streak, a calendar month without a loss, 60 total wins and some unforgettable memories.