One thing about the hot start to the season by the Atlanta Hawks is that it has people from around the league starting to take notice. Sure when Atlanta won nine straight against less than stellar competition that was easy to dismiss. When they followed that up with five straight wins over playoff teams people around the league have started to take notice.
At the center of Atlanta's success is its head coach Mike Budenholzer. ESPN.com's Marc Stein named him his "Coach of the First Trimester" and says that you can't ignore what is going on in Atlanta.
The Hawks are off to a 21-7 start which equals the best start in franchise history after 28 games.
Hawks' 21-7 start matches best through first 28 games in franchise history (86-87, 87-88, 93-94). #ATLHawks— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) December 26, 2014
Just to reiterate that is the best start in "Franchise" history. That includes the Dominique Wilkins teams, the Steve/Dikembe era and the Joe Johnson era.
They have done so under the radar and appear to have successfully distanced themselves from the unfortunate Danny Ferry/Bruce Levenson situation of this summer.
Don't forget, furthermore, all the Danny Ferry-related turmoil Atlanta lugged into the season and the stability Budenholzer has provided. The Hawks don't have an obvious All-Star and are challenging for the Eastern Conference lead, which is a significant achievement no matter how underwhelming two-thirds of the East looks.
The stability provided by Budenholzer has been key. He deserves praise for helping navigate the ship through stormy waters while always keeping the focus on the court rather than off.
When Danny Ferry went into exile, people wondered how Budenholzer would be able to handle the day-to-day operations in addition to his coaching responsibilities. When he was asked he didn't seem very concerned and was quick to point out that the decision making process within the team was always a group effort.
It just further signifies the foundation that this team has been built on, from the ground up, front office to the coaching staff and its players.
As Stein mentions, you can't dismiss the job Steve Kerr is doing in Golden State either. You don't win awards after 28 games. However, what Budenholzer has done during his time in Atlanta can't be dismissed either.