The Atlanta Hawks have reached a break in their schedule thanks to their trip to London to take on the Brooklyn Nets. The break allowed head coach Mike Budenholzer a little time to reflect on the season and he talked about that some with the AP's Charles Odum:
''I think it's gone well,'' Budenholzer said. ''This is a very, very smart group that understands the game. They've really taken a lot of what we're talked about on the practice court and applied it to the games. ... Overall, I think there's a mostly positive feeling and a feeling we can get a lot better, also.''
There have been bumps in the road and a series of close losses that could have Atlanta's record looking much better than 20-18. When you factor in the new way of doing things combined with losing Al Horford in December to a season-ending injury then its not so bad. Atlanta recorded what was arguably their two best wins of the season last week without Horford with victories over Indiana and Houston.
Anytime Budenholzer talks about this season he does so also with an eye for the future. This is his first year with the Hawks and they are clearly in the beginning stages of what he hopes is eventually a championship level club:
''We're trying to build something here and we all know it's going to take some time,''
When Budenholzer arrived I said that he was the most important acquisition of the offseason. Some understandably disagreed with me. It takes great players to win a championship and as impactful as some coaches are, they are just a piece of the puzzle.
However, if you have watched this team you have to be enamored with their competitive spirit. Budenholzer and his staff have preached competitiveness since they arrived and that is something that can be clearly seen on the court. This Hawks team has battled back from slow starts and never seems to quit. That is a much different flavor than what we have been served in the past.
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