Atlanta Hawks: Was last season the best shot at winning an NBA title?

Atlanta Hawks . Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks . Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks future has been painted in many ways, most of them rosy. After turning their season around and making a run to the Eastern Conference Finals with a very young and banged-up roster, they added more promising young and veteran players. It’s hard to say their best days aren’t ahead of them.

Except a school of thought exists wherein last season was their best chance to win an NBA title.

That’s the reason Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale gave in his latest, ‘Why Your Favorite Team Won’t Win the 2022 NBA Championship’.

The Atlanta Hawks have the talent and time on their side in the Eastern Conference

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A promising 2021 has no bearing on what will happen in 2022 for the Hawks, that much is a given Even if solely banking on improved health and continued development would lead one to believe this team would be better next season.

The experience should only add fuel to the fire.

Why then was last season their best shot? After offering up many of the same rebuttals fans would (and have), Favale gives his reasoning.

"“The Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks aren’t going anywhere. The Philadelphia 76ers will be a thorn in everyone’s side, the Ben Simmons debacle be damned. The Miami Heat are better equipped to match up with the tippy-top of the conference. The Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors will be healthier. The New York Knicks loom. The Chicago Bulls have boom-or-bust potential. One of the Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards could surprise.Getting back to the playoffs is part of the battle. The Hawks will be there. But what are the odds they’ll be facing a Knicks team so incontestably over its head? And then a Sixers squad that houses a superstar who no longer has the offensive range necessary to dunk? And then a Bucks unit that is missing Giannis friggin’ Antetokounmpo for multiple games?”"

There is some validity to this and, note, he’s only referring to why they won’t win in 2022. But the entry certainly reeks of finality. We’ve also come out against many of the reasons he gave long before they appeared in the article.

Placing Miami ahead of the Hawks seems premature given they too were a one-hit-wonder as currently constructed after appearing in the Finals down in the Orlando bubble but getting swept this past season in the first round. Are 35-year-old Kyle Lowry and 36-year-old P.J. Tucker going to get them back?

Philadelphia is on the verge of imploding and needing to retool around Joel Embiid.

The Knicks added bodies but did they get any better? Same for the Bulls who don’t even have last year to point to as New York does.

Most importantly, since this is in reference to their future chances, how many of those other teams have a better core of young talent — headlined by the newly extended Trae Young, John Collins, and (2021 rebounding champ) Clint Capela — than the Hawks?

That’s not to say their future success is a given. It certainly is not. And, again, Favale is only forecasting next season.

Next. Atlanta Hawks: Where does John Collins rank amongst top-10 active power forwards. dark

But this group going as far as it did shouldn’t equate to it peaking either. Even if only in regards to the competition.