Last season the Atlanta Hawks took the league by storm with a regular season record of 60-22 and a healthy playoff run that ended against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Hawks seemed like a team that could grow upon their sudden success but unfortunately they won’t be as successful.
Teams Have Figured Them Out
Once in a while comes a team or player can’t seem to be figured out; that team was the Atlanta Hawks. They hide their true colors well last season, confusing teams with spreading the wealth amongst all players on offense and playing help defense on the other end. When the postseason came, teams quickly discovered plenty of holes in the Hawks’ philosophy.
Even though they won their first and second round matchups against the Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards, both teams were able to attach the Hawks’ weaknesses and win a few games. The Hawks aren’t the biggest team down low, they don’t have a frightening backcourt and they don’t defend small ball very well. The Cleveland Cavaliers definitely capitalized on the Hawks deficiencies. Expect teams to be ready for the their schemes come regular season.
No DeMarre Carroll
No one expected DeMarre Carroll to be as good as he was for the Hawks last season. He went from being a role player to being a budding star on the rise. In return, he received a big pay from the Toronto Raptors for $60 million along with a starting wingman position. His presence will be missed in ATL. They no longer have a legit scoring wingman with lockdown defense. They attempted to replace him with Tim Hardaway Jr., but its unlikely that he will come in and contribute in the specific ways that Carroll did. Even though Carroll wasn’t one of the four players to make the Eastern Conference All-Star Team, once the season ended, he was viewed as one of and sometimes thee best player on last year’s roster.
Still No Superstars
Exactly how long can the Hawks maintain success without a legit superstar leading the way? Although teamwork and unselfish play are key elements in basketball, there must be a player on the court to rise in certain occasions. History says each team capable of winning a championship has at 1-2 superstars, an all-star caliber player, veterans and specialists. The Hawks are filled with all of the listed but they lack a superstar that can carry them through games.
Last season, at times that guy was Jeff Teague, sometimes it was Al Horford and a hand full of times it was DeMarre Carroll. So who is the real go to guy here?
No guy on their current roster is capable of scoring in bunches, controlling the pace of the game, or even making others around him better. If there is one weakness in the Hawks’ locker room, it’s someone with the superstar label.
The final word
There’s no doubt that the Hawks will be an exciting team and very well a playoff team, but a repeated season like last year isn’t expected. They may have some additional tricks up their sleeve but given the improved landscape of the Eastern Conference, their expectations will definitely take a dip.