My Hawks are once again projected to finish in the bottom half of the playoffs teams. For the 3rd straight year, all the analyst are dissing on the Hawks. Remember last year? who predicted the Hawks to finish 3rd in the East? No one...Remember 2 years ago? Who predicted the Hawks to get a playoff spot? No one..
How on earth can they predict the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls to finish ahead of the Hawks?. Comon, We beat Boston 4 times last year and also finished ahead of them. The Big 3 are going to get 1 year older on the wrong side of 30 and still everyone thinks they will finish ahead of us? Lets look at Chicago. how on earth do they have a better team than the Hawks? Look at their bench. There is NOBODY there. Okay, so they got Boozer. Please tell me how their starting 5 is better than out starting 5.
Here are some key points that is missed by everyone.
1. Continuity: This is probably the most underrated quality of the Hawks. For 4 year now, the Hawks have been playing together. That in no small way counts. When other teams are working their new players into their system, the Hawks would have jumped off with a good start in the season. I would not be surprised if the Hawks are in the top 2 or 3 by December. Remember last year when the Hawks had the best record in the NBA early in the season? All this is as a result of playing together for so long.
2. BIG 3: The Hawks Big3( Josh, Al and Joe) are probably the most underrated Big3 in the NBA. These are 3 legit All Stars( Yes Josh definitely had All Star numbers last year). How can a team that has 3 legit All Stars and a top NBA bench guy in Jamal be so underrated?
3. Youth: Youth in your team means that all things being equal, the players will improve. The Hawks have 3 starters under 25! Which means that organic growth is guaranteed for next season. I marvel how everyone talks about the Thunder and Bulls going to improve due to the age of their top stars, but no one talks about the Hawks improving.
4. Change: Why do most people think that change means the team will get better? Yes I like change. But ONLY IF it makes the team better. Yes, there was no changes in the team but comon, if the team is getting better, why make changes and risk messing up the chemistry. Funny how everyone is drooling over the Thunder for keeping their core together with limited changes and criticizing the Hawks for doing the same thing. Everyone says the Magic beat the Hawks and we should make changes. Does anyone remember how prior to last year, the Hawks lost to the Celtics like 8 straight times in the regular season and last year we beat them with the SAME TEAM 4 straight times? Remember the usual 3 heavy losses in the Texas triangle every year turned to 2 wins and 1 loss last year with the same team? Despite what people think, the gap between the Hawks and Magic is not that much. Oh, FYI besides Dwight, all the big stars in Orlando are looking at the wrong side of 30 so we should expect them to drop a little this year and the Hawks to get better.
5. We can (Still) Beat Anyone. The Hawks beat every team in the NBA last season except the Thunder and we played them 2 very close games. If you compare our win - loss between the Hawks are all the top tier team for the last 2 seasons, you will see remarkable improvements. All this was done by limited changes to the roster.When the core of the team is still together and they have been improving, why not let it ride one more season?
6. Coach Change: The Hawks have a new coach that has been with the team for the last 6 years. This naturally means that the new system going to be implemented will compliment what is already working. I don't see Drew changing what was working. Since he is very familiar with the team. This should make the team better.
7. Patience: The Hawks are still under the cap and still have the exception from Chills trade. Sooner or later, a very good trade is going to come along. It is only a matter of time. An old team is going to start off badly and look to make a trade that will write off this season. The Hawks are in a very good position to take advantage of this.
I am going to say that baring any major Injury, the Hawks will finish in the Top 3 in the East.