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.