What is the best possible finishing position for the Atlanta Hawks this season

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks have experienced a roller-coaster season. First, they were on top of the Eastern Conference by winning four of their first five games. Then they lost six of seven games, thanks in large part to their injury issues.

They then won five out of ten through mid-January to early February which steadied the ship somewhat. Then, through the rest of the month of February, the Hawks went 4-of-8 which meant that they were 11th in the Eastern Conference with only two games left prior to the All-Star break.

This ended up costing Lloyd Pierce his job and the Hawks decided to replace him with interim coach Nate McMillian, who they had hired in the previous offseason. Given that rumors surfaced that the Hawks had looked to move on from Pierce during the last offseason, this move seemed like succession planning.

The Atlanta Hawks have turned their season around.

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The Hawks won their next two games prior to the All-Star break, in the process, they welcomed back Bogdan Bogdanovic from injury. After the All-Star break, they won their next six games and another positive was that De’Andre Hunter played a few games, despite being restricted due to his recovery from injury.

Then, they lost two games before the last victory against the Golden State Warriors in which John Collins reminded us of his prodigious talent as he gave the “greatest defender ever” a basketball lesson. This has them sitting in sixth in the Eastern Conference, just half a game behind fourth.

With how competitive the season is, they are only two games ahead of the tenth place Chicago Bulls and five games ahead of the 11th place Toronto Raptors. If they have another slide then they are a chance of missing the play-in tournament.

With 27 games left in the season, there is a chance that the Hawks could slip out of the play-in tournament but it seems fairly unlikely. What is likely is that they will normalize to be a plus .500 team and this should see them finish as high as fourth.

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They have all of the players they need to be a competitive playoff team and with the addition of Lou Williams to the squad, have a bench unit who is guaranteed to score. The Hawks have put themselves in a good position with a third of the season to go, now they need to bring it home. They are more than six games behind the Milwaukee Bucks which appears to bog a gap to cross.