Atlanta Hawks Championship Odds

 

The Atlanta Hawks were pretty incredible last season.  They ended up finishing first in the East, but finally ran out of gas in the playoffs.  Cleveland ended up sweeping the Hawks in four games in the Eastern Conference Finals.  It was a great season that just fell flat.

This team should still be strong in 2015-16, but it will be tough to repeat the success of last year.  The big loss was DeMarre Carroll to Toronto in free agency, but the majority of their players are back.  Right now Boyds Bets has the Hawks odds to win the NBA Finals listed at 50-to-1 and their odds to win the East at 16-to-1.

That’s behind teams like the Cavs, Raptors, and Bulls in terms of chances just to win the Eastern Conference and get a shot at the Finals.  Being thought of as the fourth best team in the league isn’t a bad thing.

If they do win the East then they will likely be heavy underdogs to win the championship series.  You’ll likely see the Warriors, Spurs or Thunder come out of the West, and all three of those teams are carrying some serious firepower.

Do the Hawks have a chance?  Of course they do, but they are going to have to catch a few breaks in the playoffs.  They’ll need to stay healthy and it wouldn’t hurt if they could slip into the 3 seed and avoid the Cavaliers until the Conference Finals.

Atlanta is in one of those difficult spots.  Do they have a real shot at winning a title with the core they have in tact?  Probably not, but it’s still good enough that it’s difficult to blow up and start from scratch.

My feeling is the Hawks will be a middle of the road playoff team in the East for the next couple of years.  With a new owner, he will at least keep the fan favorites like Horford, Teague, and Korver around long enough to keep ticket sales high.

Unfortunately, that means we will be getting high draft picks each year making it tough to rebuild in the draft.  Atlanta is a solid destination for free agents since it’s a big city with an active nightlife.  The trick is just getting one of the big names to join our solid core and try to take them to the next level.

Until we get the big star, I don’t know if Atlanta is going to win an NBA Finals.  Time is running out on a lot of players too, so we are just a few years away from a complete rebuild.  I’m going to just enjoy them being a good, but maybe not great team while it lasts.

How Have the Atlanta Hawks Drafted?

The Atlanta Hawks have made the playoffs ever since our man Al Horford joined the team for the 2007-08 season.  That means they have been out of the lottery for quite some time.  That had me wondering, how have the Hawks actually done in the draft?

I went back and looked at our history to see if we have had any hits or misses the last ten years.  Here is what I found.

  • 2015 – Kelly Ombre, Jr, Marcus Eriksson, Dimitrios Agravanis
  • 2014 – Adriene Payne, Walter Tavares
  • 2013 – Dennis Schroder, Shane Larkin, Raul Neto, James Ennis
  • 2012 – John Jenkins, Mike Scott
  • 2011 – Keith Benson
  • 2010 – Damion James, Pape Sy
  • 2009 – Jeff Teague, Sergiy Gladyr
  • 2007 – Al Horford, Acie Law
  • 2006 – Shelden Williams, Solomon Jones
  • 2005 – Marvin Williams, Salim Stoudamire, Cenk Akyol

Boy, looking at that list there isn’t a lot to be proud of.

Al Horford is a very good player that Atlanta got back in 2007.  We talk about him all the time so we will try to focus on a few of the other players.

Jeff Teague was taken with the 19th pick in the 2009 draft.  He is far and away the best choice outside of Al.  He’s established himself as one of the best point guards in the Eastern Conference, which is definitely a win for a pick in the backend of the first round.

Everyone else?  Blah!  Marvin Williams was alright and did manage almost 15 ppg in 2008, but regressed from that point before leaving the Hawks.  It’s tough to see Deron Williams and Chris Paul taken with the 3rd and 4th pick in that draft right after Marvin.  Danny Granger was taken with the 17th choice.  David Lee as taken at 30 by the Knicks and had a pretty solid career.

Shelden Williams was not only one of the ugliest players to ever grace the floor, but he was also a complete flop for us.  Rudy Gay was taken with the 8th spot, JJ Redick at 11, Rajon Rondo down at 21, and Kyle Lowry at 24.  Outside of guards though, this was a pretty terrible draft class in general.

Acid Law was terrible as a rookie and didn’t last in the league long.  That’s another draft that after Noah at 9 didn’t see any player make a real impact in the league.

Dennis Schroder might end up being something special. He’s only 22 years old and has shown improvement quickly.  I like how he’s trending and he could be a poor man’s Rondo.

I thought Payne might be a decent pro, but he was a total bust for us.

So, one of the reasons Atlanta hasn’t quite been able to get over the hump has been their poor drafting the last several years.  I know getting late choices isn’t making things easy, but we need to hit with someone in the next couple of years or we are going to go through a real dry spell as our guys age.

 

Al Horford – 2015 All-Star Reserve

Our man Al Horford was selected as a reserve for the 2015 All-Star game. We figured this would be a good time to show his Top 10 plays for the season so far.

You’ll see an impressive dunk that he had against the Chicago Bulls.

You’ll see a big dunk that he had against the Indiana Pacers.

You’ll see Horford reject Greg Monroe of the Detroit Pistons.

One of his best alley hoops was against the Philadelphis Sixers.

I loved the block that he had against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Serge Ibaka. He also had a massive dunk that game when he went around Kendrick Perkins.

When you are 6’10” and can run the floor like Horford can though, there will be a lot of dunks.

So, let’s talk about the Hawks in general as we enter the All-Star break. This team has the best record in the league and they are getting it done in an unusual manner. They don’t have the “star” power like any other teams. There isn’t a single guy on this team that would be in the MVP talk right now.

What Atlanta does have is good players up and down the roster. They have above average guys at each position, who know their roles and like how they fit into the team. During the regular season this style works extremely well.

The key will be what happens when playoff time comes. That is normally when there is plenty of time to rest between games, so the stars eat up a lot of minutes while the second unit doesn’t see as much time on the floor. Will the Hawks be able to handle 40 minutes of LeBron James? I’m interested to see. The odds show they aren’t the favorites.

That style of team has worked very well for the San Antonio Spurs, and the Atlanta Hawks have definitely started to turn themselves into more of a Spurs in the East kind of team.

I think the biggest word for this team is “under-rated”. There isn’t a player on the squad that gets the attention that they deserve. Everyone forgets about Al. Jeff Teague is a top 5 point guard in the Eastern Conference. If you think you can find a better shooter than Kyle Korver then I have some ocean front property in Arizona to sell you. Paul Milsap has been under-rated for his entire career. All that guy does is get boards and score in the low post.

Congrats to Al and the other Hawks players on the All-Star nods. Now let’s finish this season strong and win Atlanta a title!

© 2016 Al 4 Roy