Looking back over the 2014-2015 season, we saw the Atlanta Hawks grow another year older in the master plan of Danny Ferry and Mike Budenholzer. The Hawks came out of the gates flying, using their now trademark shooting firepower and the solid frontcourt work of Al Horford and Paul Millsap, who is expected to be re-signed, and made their eighth consecutive playoff appearance, upsetting the Washington Wizards in the first round of the playoffs before bowing out to the eventual conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers in seven hard-fought games.
The Hawks have become a formidable matchup for any team in the league, even without any first team All-NBA player on the roster. They've used great ball movement, spacing and, of course, shooting to stay in games while the defense has slowly been gaining ground, buoyed considerably by the full season return of Horford.
Let's run down what we saw throughout the season:
- Second-team All-Rookie performance from Adreian Payne
- A return to the All-Star game for Al Horford
- Another step forward for Jeff Teague....and more trade rumors entering the offseason.
- Kyle Korver chasing his own record streak by making a three in every game.
- Related to that, the Hawks led the NBA in 3 pointers attempted, made and percentage.
- Improved defense, led by the additions of Thabo Sefolosha and Kent Bazemore to the wing defense, brought the team into the top 10 in defensive rating.
- The improved defense was also helped by the Hawks finally moving out of the bottom ten in defensive rebounding, with Horford, Millsap and Payne leading the way.
- Coach Bud getting some love for Coach of the Year.
- The glorious return of SkyHawk.
- Mike Scott sporting a new Peachtree Hoops logo emoji while putting another classic playoff game in his scrapbook by hitting five threes to take out the Wizards.
The Hawks are expected to re-sign Millsap, as previously reported, but the Hawks face an important decision on DeMarre Carroll, who turned in another solid season on the wing, epitomizing the Hawks determination and hustle on both sides of the floor.
The Hawks will have the #18 pick in the 2015 draft and our own Patrick Laney, the RedRev himself, sees the Hawks pulling the trigger on Kentucky's Aaron Harrison, who projects to add more shooting to the wing while coming off a season that saw his on-ball defense improve considerably.
After Year Three of the Danny Ferry era, we have seen this team transform into a hard working, playoff caliber team that has maintained its flexibility, financially, to acquire a major talent to take the team to the next level. Heading into another offseason, the roster is contract friendly, though the will need to resolve the Millsap and Carroll situations quickly to strike, but a trade can also be made given the number of short, small contracts on the books for the team.
The Hawks are solid, fun to watch and a team fans can be proud of -- they were so close to moving past the glass ceiling of Atlanta Hawks history, moving past the second round, and fans keep waiting for that milestone to be passed before declaring the Danny Ferry era a success.
This work has been to fictionally, kind of, sort of, state where the team will be in 12 months as a part of SB Nation NBA's Theme Day. Any actual resemblance or later proven facts associated with this article will be maintained as complete and utter blind luck and coincidence. No animals or emoji were harmed in the making of this article.