The Atlanta Hawks continue to climb up the ranks within the Eastern Conference, ending the last two years with winning seasons and respectable drives through the playoffs.
With a number of key acquisitions made during the off season, The Hawks are looking stronger than ever and are determined to finally knock down the reigning NBA world champions The Cleveland Cavilers.
Take a look at why this upcoming season could very well be the year of The Hawks!
Off Season Trades & Expectations
The Hawks serve as the NBA’s go-to example for how team ball is meant to be played. The team’s latest success is built upon setting up the parameter shot and following through with a strong defensive approach down court.
Tim Hardaway Jr., Kris Humphries, Paul Milsap and Kyle Korver are all returning this year, which presents a unique system that combines experience with superior athleticism.
Fans should look for Dennis Schroeder to continue to set up Korver for the three-point shot, while Thabo Sefolosha provides critical defensive support under the rim.
Although the Hawks were not as explosive on offense last year as they were in 2014, fans can expect this to improve with the support of their All-Star acquisition Dwight Howard.
The eight-time NBA All-Star will combine forces with Paul Milsap in an effort to dominate smaller teams down court, as well as to slow down quick drives offered by teams like Cleveland and Golden State.
Together, Howard and Milsap could very well become one of the strongest “big man” duos in the entire NBA.
No Longer With The Hawks
Fans will miss a number of team leaders this year, as Jeff Teague and Al Horford were both traded to Indiana and Boston respectively.
Teague grew to become one of the top leaders of the team; his leadership and skills will certainly be missed this year.
Why The Hawks Are NBA Championship Contenders
Dwight Howard serves as an experiment for the Hawks as the team will need him to return to the dominating defensive approach he took back in Orlando. Being from the City of Atlanta, Howard could very well regain a sense of enthusiasm that we haven’t seen in years.
Dennis Schroeder and Kent Bazemore are both formidable around the parameter and should have an easier time setting up the three-point shot than they did last year, now having the support of Milsap and Howard.
Schroeder continues to offer glimpses of glory and could very well step-up this year to lead the team deep into the playoffs.
Unlike 2014 and 2015, The Hawks now have a solid front court lineup with Tiago Splitter and Kris Humphries.
If the team can continue to play unselfish basketball, there may not be a more thorough, well-rounded team than the Hawks.
Why The Hawks Might Continue To Drop Off
Despite bringing on Howard, the Hawks are still missing an All-Star shooter who has been to the finals and knows how to take over the game when it matters the most.
The Hawks continue to play great team ball during the regular season, but have consistently failed against the Cavs because of this very reason.
In order to overcome this trend, the Hawks will need Schroeder to takeover as the team’s go-to shooter on a consistent basis.
Secrete To Winning This Year: Budenholzer
The Atlanta Hawks live and die based on the mindset an vision of their head coach, who is currently considered as the 4th best coach in the NBA.
Budenholzer has developed a well-rounded group of players that places their teammates over any singular individual.
Despite the Hawk’s offense not performing as well last year as they did in 2014, they were still ranked second behind Steph Curry and The Warriors.
Budenholzer’s ball-sharing philosophy should provide an immediate impact within the Eastern Conference.
2016 Season Prediction: The Hawks Win The Southeast Division
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