As far as the NBA Playoffs 2012 go, in the statistics and numbering by ESPN's John Hollinger, the Hawks are nearly a sure thing.
According to his Playoff Odds, the Hawks have moved to a 100 percent chance of being in the playoffs. The numbers also include a best case for win/loss record (49 wins), a worst case (31 wins) and a predicted (40 wins) for the Hawks, who are currently rocking a 23-15 record.
Here is an explanation of Hollinger's Playoff Odds, where the numbers come from and what they mean:
The idea is to predict what a team's odds are of making the playoffs, winning the division, making the Finals, etc., by simulating all the remaining games in the NBA season. We have a computer at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., that automatically plays out the rest of the season every night -- not once, but 5,000 times. And we can see from those 5,000 trials how many times a certain outcome resulted, then assign a probability from it. For example, if the Blazers make the playoffs in 2,500 of our trials, we say their odds of making the playoffs are 2,500 divided by 5,000, or 50 percent.
Looking deeper into the numbers, while the Hawks are one of four teams in the NBA reaching the 100 percent threshold, they have minuscule chances of doing anything else, as the odds on the Hawks winning the division, winning the conference or even winning the finals are all statistical longshots, even without taking personnel (or lack of certain personnel) into the equation.
The 76ers, Pacers and Magic all have better odds at winning the conference than do the Hawks, probably due to the Hawks' current lack of home court advantage, though one would have to believe that if things were to remain as they are now in terms of the NBA Standings, the Hawks could beat the Magic with or without home court.
A final note: It's fitting that the Hawks are included with the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder at 100 percent yet are forecasted to go no further. I can think of few better statistical pictures that capture the Hawks better than that.