If you missed our intro or Part 1 of this series be sure to click through and read those first. If not, here are the Top 5 stories of 2014 involving the Atlanta Hawks.
5. Paul Millsap named to first career All-Star Game
Paul Millsap was perhaps the best value signing of the summer of 2013 after the Hawks inked him to a two-year deal worth $19 million. With the loss of Al Horford to a season-ending injury, Millsap was forced to shoulder the load in his first season with the Hawks and was rewarded with his first All-Star Game appearance.
What more can be said about Millsap? He's quiet and leads by example but is one of the most consistent players Atlanta has on its roster. He's expanded his game while with the Hawks and will be one of the more sought after free agents of next summer.
4. Hawks to honor Dominique Wilkins with statue
For a franchise that has often been short on superstars, Dominique Wilkins is the shining light for the Atlanta Hawks. His jersey is one of four that hang from the Philips Arena rafters but the franchise will go a step further and erect a statue in his honor outside Philips Arena in March of 2015.
In many ways, Wilkins is the Atlanta Hawks. He is the most celebrated player to ever wear the Hawks uniform and continues to in many ways be the face of the franchise. Whether it was the explosive scoring, or the flashy dunks. Wilkins drew people to the game of basketball and the Hawks. He is the sole reason that I picked up a basketball and I certainly wouldn't be sitting here writing this article today if it wasn't for Dominique Wilkins.
3. Hawks fall to Pacers in seven games
The Atlanta Hawks limped to a 38-44 record during the 2014 season and captured the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. That setup a playoff matchup against the No. 1 seed Indiana Pacers. Atlanta was the only sub .500 team in the postseason and predictably most weren't expecting the series to be anything more than a formality for the top seed.
Then the games actually began and the Hawks proved to be about the worst matchup possible for the Pacers. Atlanta's spread the floor attack caused Indiana all kinds of problems and the Hawks shocked everyone by taking Game 1 on the road.
Indiana answered back with a win in Game 2 but the Hawks responded again with a Game 3 win at Philips Arena to go up 2-1 in the series. The Pacers responded again with a crucial road win in Game 4 to tie the series at 2-2.
The series shifted back to Indiana in what became a best two out of three situation for both teams. The Hawks grabbed an improbable 107-97 road win thanks to a barrage of three-pointers from Mike Scott to take a 3-2 lead with things headed back to Atlanta for Game 6.
Prior to Game 6, the Hawks unveiled a new secondary logo that was a throwback to the 80s look of the team. Yes, the Pac was officially back as the Hawks' Pac Man logo was once again front and center. Unfortunately that wasn't enough for Atlanta who failed to close out the series with a 95-88 loss despite a raucous and enthusiastic Philips Arena crowd.
With the team feeling like they missed an opportunity in Game 6, the Hawks fell in the winner-take-all Game 7, 92-80 ending their season.
2. Franchise is rocked by Bruce Levenson and Danny Ferry scandal
Following the playoff loss to the Pacers, it was a rather quiet summer for the Atlanta Hawks until it was announced that Bruce Levenson would sell his stake in the team due to the revelation of an email that contained racist statements that he wrote back in 2012.
The NBA had just endured the Donald Sterling saga in Los Angeles and Levenson voluntarily agreed to part with his stake of the team. However, things would only get worse from there as more details emerged that implicated general manager Danny Ferry in the controversy.
During a pre free agency conference call, Ferry read from a scouting report that contained racially insensitive information about free agent Luol Deng. The comments bothered some members of Hawks ownership and an internal investigation was eventually launched. That investigation uncovered the Levenson email and put this series of events in motion.
The Hawks issued Ferry an undisclosed punishment and although the league did not have any plans to further discipline Ferry, the event set off a firestorm surrounding the franchise. More details emerged that while pushed to the background in recent years, the dysfunction among the Hawks' ownership group remained and in some ways this event was yet another power play by members of the group.
An audio recording of Ferry's press conference eventually surfaced as did a copy of the scouting report from which he was reading. That all led to Ferry taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team. Head coach Mike Budenholzer was put in charge of all basketball operations and Ferry remains on leave with an uncertain future.
After all of the positive steps the franchise had made this was a huge blow and a huge black eye. As the season has played out, the controversy has faded somewhat into the background. Still it hangs over everything the team does and it won't conclude until the team is sold which is a progress that is progressing slowly. Ferry remains in limbo and will likely remain there until the ownership situation is resolved.
1. Steve Koonin named CEO of the Atlanta Hawks
When longtime Turner executive Steve Koonin was named as the new CEO of the Atlanta Hawks in April we had no idea how big of a move that would be. Koonin himself had no idea what he was getting himself into. Still he along with Mike Budenholzer and the players have been a shining light for the franchise and a breath of fresh air amidst the racial controversy of Danny Ferry and Bruce Levenson.
Koonin has been instrumental in the franchise's efforts to reach the Atlanta fan base and repair the damage that this summer's controversy caused. He was instrumental in the return of the Pac Man logo and has become the face that this franchise needs off the court.
Clearly the biggest story in this list was the controversy but I shudder at the thought of who would have stepped to the podium for this franchise during this difficult time had Koonin not been there.
With ownership completely incapable, leadership for the franchise had to come from somewhere. For that, they are very lucky to have Steve Koonin.