The official source of what's happening in Atlanta, GA
As the end of the regular season approaches, the Atlanta Hawks gear up for a first round playoff match-up against the 2008 NBA Champion, Boston Celtics. Hawks fans can't help but to wonder if and when this current Hawks group of core players can make a deep playoff run. Before acquiring all-star Joe Johnson in a sign-and-trade in the summer of 2005, the Hawks were a very below average team with aspirations of becoming a consistent playoff contender. The club has made the playoffs in five of Johnson's seven years with the team including five consecutive seasons; a substantial increase for a team that finished 13-69 the season before acquiring the all-star. The idea here is progression, it's time to see more!
Five consecutive playoff births is good for any franchise in any American sport but the inability to make a deep run while there; leaves Hawks fans wondering if this core group of players can get it done when it counts. The Hawks currently own the 2nd longest run (behind the Sacramento Kings) of not winning an NBA title at 54 years. All of the franchise's NBA Finals appearances and lone NBA Championship took place when the team resided in St. Louis. They have yet to advance beyond the second round of any playoff format in their entire Atlanta existence, which now spans over 44 seasons.
Much of the failures they've experienced in the post season can be contributed to their poor history in the NBA Draft. Since 1980, the Hawks have drafted a grand total of three players who have ever been chosen to play in an All-Star game (Doc Rivers, Kevin Willis, and Al Horford). Passing up on the likes of Luol Deng in 2004, Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Monta Ellis in 2005, and Brandon Roy in 2006 are truly haunting a team in dire need of a “true” franchise player in a big way. With Joe Johnson set to make well over $20 million and Al Horford's contract up over the next few years, it will be very difficult for the Hawks, especially under the new CBA, to bolster the roster in any way which leaves this group possibly stuck together for a few more season.
Is a deep playoff run possible for this team? With Eastern Conference foes in the Knicks, Bulls and Heat all becoming legit title contenders, Hawks fans can only hope for that to become a reality instead of a dream.
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