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Monthly Progress Report: February - "Our pets' heads are falling off!"

February was not propitious for the Atlanta Hawks as the team won just two of their 10 games. What happened?

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Losing isn't fun, and the Hawks did a lot of that last month. However, even with the Atlanta Hawks' 2-10 record in the month of February -- that included an eight-game losing streak -- I never felt the urge to hit the metaphorical panic button. Al Horford, Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll, Gustavo Ayon, Pero Antic and John Jenkins are all either out for the rest of the season or missed a little time in February. When you're signing players like Dexter Pittman just to have enough bigs to get through the night things are probably pretty bleak for your team, and they were in February.

Even with the Hawks' eight-game skid, the team is still in a great position to make the playoffs and currently hold the eight seed in the Eastern Conference if the playoffs started today. The Hawks' poor play this past month really should be taken with a grain of salt because of all the injuries. It's easy to say "They need to tank" or "Blow it up" after checking the box score and standings today. It's a simple solution to a complex dilemma. Most fans were happy with the direction of the team when they looked like they'd coast to a third seed in the dumpster fire that is the Eastern Conference. But fans are getting antsy because the Hawks are in a free fall due to an unforeseen amount of injuries to key players. The only way the Hawks could really miss the playoffs at this point is if the cataclysmic Detroit Pistons go on a huge run with an interim head coach and general manager who reportedly could be on his way out. The point is, missing the playoffs this season wasn't a likely scenario. Sometimes a team gets comically hit with the injury bug, and it derails their season. That doesn't negate the strides this team was making in head coach Mike Budenholzer's system in November and December. The cap space, draft picks and team-friendly contracts are still characteristics of this team, but a team can only survive so many injuries, and the Hawks have reached their limit.

The Good:

  • The Hawks 3-point shot got back on track as the team shot 41 percent from 3-point land.
  • Kyle Korver kept his 3-point streak alive.
  • Carroll's USG% rose, but he maintained his efficient play shooting 41 percent from 3.
  • Mike Muscala came over from Spain, so that's fun.
  • Jeff Teague rebounded from a horrible January. Teague shot 38 percent from 3 and held a TS% of 54 percent.

The Bad:

  • In 10 of the 12 games, in February the Hawks surrendered at least 100 points.
  • Lou Williams' woes on both sides of the floor elongated as the guard shot 39 percent from the floor, still isn't aggressive attacking the basket and had a DRtg of 114.
  • When Mike Scott was on the floor in February, the Hawks were outscored by 10.5 points, even with his stellar outside shooting.

What to expect going forward:

I'd like to say the Hawks will start inching back towards the mean after their nightmarish February campaign, but the injury concerns aren't going anywhere. Bringing Muscala over and Antic returning should help, but the Hawks are barely hanging on right now and it's tough to watch. The team is at the toughest portion of their schedule and the guys the Hawks really need to have step up, Teague and Lou, haven't done so. If that duo can get back on track, which is still possible, and the front court depth improves and remains healthy the Hawks could get back to playing .500 basketball. That's not exactly shooting for the stars or anything, but injuries have drastically shifted the expectations for this club the rest of the way. That's the reality this team is in, and even though it is a tough pill to swallow, things aren't dire in Atlanta; they're just in a state of flux.