Measuring Playoff Success For The Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

The NBA Playoffs are just around the corner and it will be kicked off by the NBA Play-In Tournament. With the Eastern Conference standings entering play on March 31, the Atlanta Hawks currently hold the eighth seed. Being in that spot could allow for the Hawks to have some success in the playoffs, but that brings up the question: What would be considered a successful season for the Hawks?

In the format of the Play-In Tournament, the Hawks would take on the number seven team, which is the Miami Heat, in Miami.

The problem that this presents is the fact that the Hawks are 1-3 this season against the Heat and 0-2 in Miami. In the lone victory, Atlanta jumped out on Miami with a 70-point first half with a 20-point lead and held off a Heat comeback. Atlanta will have one shot to move past the Heat and advance to the next level.

If the Hawks can fight off the Miami Heat, they will be awarded the seventh seed in the actual NBA Playoffs.

Winning against the Heat would be the start of a successful playoff run right?

I find it hard to believe you can start a successful playoff run with a loss and then have to play another game under the immense pressure of being eliminated. If you aren’t eliminated in the second play-in game, you then get the honor of playing the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. That doesn’t sound like the recipe for success to me, even though the Hawks are 2-2 against the Bucks.

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Let’s keep it optimistic and say that the Hawks move past the Heat, get the seventh seed, and take on the Boston Celtics. The Hawks are currently 0-2 against Boston with one game left to play in the series.

Naturally, success would be to defeat Boston and move on to the second round but would you consider taking the Celtics to seven games and losing to be a positive? Before you look at me with a side eye I’d like to remind you that Atlanta has not defeated the Celtics at all this season. The Hawks have not even kept the Celtics under 126 points in two games. There may be some bad blood developing after the last game where Marcus Smart and Trae Young got into a bit of a wrestling match and that may light a fire in the Hawks’ belly for this series. On second thought, yeah Atlanta needs to beat them!

After being a part of The Play-In Tournament, making it to the second round of the playoffs should be enough of a base for new coach Quin Snyder but we have seen a similar story before.

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The Hawks need to gain focus and come together as a team to go as far as they can go because while there are multiple levels of success, it should always be based on how close a team gets to holding the trophy.