This also hits fairly close to home literally, since I’m from Birmingham and Atlanta is a quick drive across I-20 East that essentially makes the Hawks my “hometown” team. Let’s get started. Spurs of the East. That’s the word on the Atlanta Hawks. The Spurs never trend downward though. So let’s drop that moniker for the Hawks. Some may take that statement as negative, but it’s true. 2015, Atlanta loses in Conference Finals. 2016, Atlanta loses in Conference Semis. 2017, Atlanta loses in First Round. If that trend continues come 2018, the Hawks will be picking in the lottery.
The Hawks started the season off hot, went cold, got hot again, went cold again, then tried to warm up again when they were on the verge of missing the playoffs. Honestly, headed into the playoff matchups with Washington Wizards, I didn’t even think the Hawks would be competitive and that Washington would win in 5 games. Atlanta quickly went down 2-0 with the series headed back to Philips Arena and once again Atlanta caught fire. They completely dominated in Game 3 and also looked like they had become a force by tying the series 2-2 after Game 4. The Hawks then fell off in Game 5 and proceeded to get dominated by John Wall at home at Philips in Game 6 to end the season. The positives were the play of Dennis Schröder, Paul Millsap, and rookie Taurean Prince. More to come on the future of the Hawks.
The future is fairly simple for the organization. Do not max out Paul Millsap this Summer. This is not a knock on him, but the Hawks just cannot simply pay him that amount. Kent Bazemore’s contract plays a huge part in the reason to not bring back Millsap. As a franchise, you cannot handucff yourself to an overpaid Bazemore, aging Dwight Howard, and an aging Paul Millsap. Find a way to move Bazemore, possibly on draft night and then the Hawks will be able to afford resigning him. Even without Millsap, the Hawks will have a solid core as long as Dennis Schröder and Taurean Prince continue to improve while Dwight Howard just needs to be the Orlando Dwight when he can. Add Bazemore when he’s at his best and Atlanta is a playoff team in the East. Go towards a youth movement Atlanta.
Written By: Nyck Young