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Mike Budenholzer says Danny Ferry 'most responsible' for Hawks' rise

Mike Budenholzer credits embattled GM Danny Ferry with Hawks' climb to top of the Eastern Conference Standings.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

In one season the Atlanta Hawks have gone from a sub .500 team to 60 wins and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The man behind that turnaround, Danny Ferry has not been around to enjoy it. Ferry remains on an indefinite leave of absence after last summer's controversy regarding his comments about then free agent Luol Deng.

Ferry's leave of absence is unfortunate because he would clearly be the frontrunner to be named as the NBA's Executive of the Year given the Hawks' rise from obscurity. With Ferry away, head coach Mike Budenholzer was put in charge of all basketball decisions. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Chris Vivlamore reported on Saturday that the Hawks had submitted Budenholzer's name for the Executive of the Year Award.

On Sunday, Budenholzer spoke with Vivlamore about the situation and unsurprisingly credited Ferry for his part of the team's success.

"Anyone who has followed the Hawks for the last two or three years knows that Danny Ferry is the executive who is most responsible for the makeup of our team," Budenholzer said Sunday before the Hawks played the Wizards. "Danny is responsible for me being here. Our team is in a good place. I'm very grateful to work with such good players and with such a great staff."

Not surprising to hear Budenholzer praise Ferry. The Hawks' success is tied to the decisions that were made by Ferry, Budenholzer and assistant GM Wes Wilcox. Initially there was some concern about how Budenholzer would perform in the dual role but it wasn't that big of a change since he was already heavily involved in the decision making process.

Part of me would have liked to have seen Ferry get his due. I understand the reasoning as to why that couldn't happen. It is still unfortunate that the man behind the blueprint isn't around to celebrate the accomplishments.