Atlanta Hawks: Are the playoffs a must this season?

Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks have made moves that make fans think they’re ready for a playoff push; if they don’t get there, will this season have been a failure?

Coming off of one of the most interesting NBA seasons in recent memory, the Atlanta Hawks are certainly positioning themselves to be on everyone’s radar this year. With the season less than 3 weeks away, Hawks fans are buzzing about their new squad and the expectations that should be attached to this season. So that brings the question: if the Atlanta Hawks don’t make the playoffs this year, should the season be labeled a failure? Here are a few points to keep in mind when attempting to answer it.

Roster moves

Atlanta Hawks General Manager Travis Schlenk and the entire Hawks front office are being praised for how they’ve handled this unprecedented offseason. Through the draft and free agency, the Hawks have essentially flipped their roster upside down, in a good way.


They came into the season one of the worst shooting teams in the league, averaging a .449 field goal percentage. They aggressively attacked that stat, signing Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari to multi-year deals. If that wasn’t enough shooting for you, enter Tony Snell and his .402 three-point percentage. The Hawks want to relieve some of the scoring pressure that’s been on Trae Young the past couple of years.


On the other end of the floor, the Hawks were even worse last year. Of the 30 teams in the league, Atlanta ranked 28th in team defensive ratings. They gave up a league-high 119.7 points per game to opponents and also addressed this issue in the offseason. The signing of Kriss Dunn and the drafting of Onyeka Okongwu did a lot to address the Hawks’ defensive woes. When you add Solomon Hill to the mix, one can come to the conclusion that the Hawks got better on the defensive end as well.

While those moves are incredible, it seems like Atlanta Hawks fans are forgetting that Clint Capela is still on the roster. He’ll provide value on both ends of the floor and should be healthy given the fact that the Hawks haven’t played a game since March.

Veteran experience

Prior to their current roster, the Atlanta Hawks haven’t been known for having players with valuable veteran experience. Though Vince Carter was on the roster last year, he didn’t provide much as far as productivity.

To combat their need for mentorship, the Hawks went out and grabbed Rajon Rondo, fresh off of a championship run with the Lakers. Rondo, who has made it clear that he plans to coach when his playing days are over, will play a major role in the development of Trae Young and the meshing of the new talent on the roster. Danilo Gallinari and Solomon Hill will play the same roles for the big men on the roster in that same vein.

Bringing the new players up to speed will be key, especially because there are some new faces in the eastern conference as well.

New faces in the Eastern Conference

As the Atlanta Hawks revamp their roster, other teams in the conference also followed suit. This year, we’ll get a chance to see Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn Nets jerseys. They’ll look to take the conference by storm and challenge Milwaukee and Miami as contenders.

Russell Westbrook will make his eastern conference debut with the Washington Wizards alongside Bradley Beal. While they aren’t necessarily seen as contenders, the Wizards may be another team that could potentially stand in the way of a Hawks playoff berth.

LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward will look to shake things up in Charlotte this year. Again, while not contenders, the Hornets will stand in the Hawks’ way of the play-in tournament that will push teams into the playoffs.

Playoffs or bust?

So, with all of the factors at play for the Atlanta Hawks this season, what happens if they don’t make the playoffs?

It’s no question that the Hawks’ front office has set some pretty high expectations for this year. This writer thinks that if those moves were made and the Hawks don’t sniff the playoffs this year, it will be disappointing, but not necessarily a bust. Everyone they’ve signed this offseason is signed to at least a two-year deal, so if they missed the playoffs, they’ll be able to run it back with the same roster.

Many are already questioning whether or not the Hawks are moving too fast in their rebuilding process. I’ll have to disagree with this take because of Trae Young. He’s made it known that he wants to win. Now. So to make their franchise point guard happy, management understood that they had to make the moves to put themselves in the position to win. And they did it really well.

Next. Atlanta HAwks: Is Trae Young a top 5 PG?. dark

The moves they made are the kinds of moves that will persuade Trae Young to re-sign in Atlanta when it’s time. However, if all of these moves don’t result in a playoff berth this year, Atlanta Hawks fans have the right to be disappointed, but there’s always next year.