Atlanta Hawks: 3 keys to reaching the 2022 NBA Finals

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

It was a fun, emotional season for the Atlanta Hawks. They started hot out the gates but quickly found themselves at risk of missing the postseason thanks to many factors. But a little introspection and a coaching change saw them go from being six games below .500 at the end of February to tying for the second-best record in the NBA from March 1 on.

However, the series against the Milwaukee Bucks obviously didn’t go the way they wanted it to. The next step, now that Nate McMillan is locked in, is not only how to get back to the postseason and Eastern Conference Finals, but to advance to the NBA Finals.

Trae Young had a historic playoff debut, becoming the youngest player to have 25 points and 11 assists in a playoff game, among several other notable marks.

The Atlanta Hawks impressive season should only embolden them this offseason to get better

His supporting cast was more hit or miss; be it because of injury, fatigue, or some other factor. No other force had a bigger impact on the Hawks (or any other playoff team) than injuries. De’Andre Hunter was lost at the end of the first round. Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic both suffered injuries with the former missing two games. And Cam Reddish played in just three.

Bogdanovic and top reserve Danilo Gallinari were the most consistent role players, both among the eight Hawks to average double-digits. Bogdanovic proved himself to be quite the all-around player as he dealt with knee soreness that affected his scoring.

John Collins was third on the team with 13.9 points and 8.7 rebounds. And while he struggled on the boards in the series, he did have a double-double in Game 6 versus Milwaukee.

Kevin Huerter entered the starting lineup halfway through the Philly series and had 27 points in Game 7. But he and Collins were less than stellar on defense and can get new money this offseason. Collins is a restricted free agent and Huerter is rookie extension eligible. The risk is obviously higher with Collins since a team can offer him more than the Hawks are willing to pay.

Clint Capela was a great asset in the regular season and early in the postseason. Ultimately, though, his offensive limitations would often have him on the bench in the waning moments.

And we can’t forget Atlanta’s favorite son, Lou Williams. He filled in admirably for Young and played more traditional point guard than he has in some time. With his announcement that he could return for his 19th season, it’s yet another decision for the Hawks to make.

All of that being said, and now that they’ve locked Nate McMillan in as head coach, how can the Hawks take this group and improve upon it?