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 Seth Wenig – Pool/Getty Images) /

Atlanta Hawks keys to reaching the 2022 NBA Finals #3: Get healthy after being one of the most injured teams in the league this season

This is the most important. The Hawks had the fourth-most man-games lost to injury in the regular season. That on top of losing Hunter in the first round makes what the Hawks accomplished this year so much more impressive. With all of the inner turmoil, they could have easily mailed in the rest of the season once they began to slip in the standings.

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They’ve earned some time off. But while every team suffered through unprecedented injuries this season, the Hawks weren’t among the bubble teams or subsequent playoff field.

Young’s ‘21 season is the anomaly to this point as he missed more games to injury this season than he had in his previous two combined. Reddish also appeared over his injury and his conditioning should be better after he participates in Summer League.

Hunter’s diagnosis is the concern. It was reported by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports back in January that he suffered “articular wear and tear” in his knee. He was really coming on before suffering his injury in the regular season, averaging 22 points on 55 percent shooting. That the tear ultimately required surgery and cost him most of this postseason is a concern.

All indications are he will return to form but there could always be some pain.

Bogdanovic is seeking a second opinion on the avulsion fracture in his knee that was reportedly unrelated to the soreness he later suffered.

This could be an issue with the training staff or the players needing to take care of their bodies. Without the extended 2020 season to use as an excuse. It’s certainly something worth monitoring. It needs to be addressed because the expectation should be for improved health league-wide for 2021-22 with a full offseason and better-spaced schedule.

There will always be some freak injuries or ones that no amount of training would have prevented. But that is all the more reason to work on preventing those they can.

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If the Hawks manage to bring this entire group back as is, they can compete for a similar finish next season. But if they make these subtle tweaks they can be even better prepared to weather all that comes with trying to fight through the playoffs next year.