The Atlanta Hawks: They Are For Real (January ’15)

Are you believing yet? If not and you have any interest in Atlanta basketball it is time to start. The days of Iso Joe and the overpaid selfish superstars are over, and have been for quite a while. The Hawks have the most wins in the NBA and have finally put a product on the floor that should get all of Atlanta tingled up inside.This kind of magic the Hawks have displayed so far is equivalent to that of the ’91 Braves and it is time for the city of Atlanta to stand in support of it. If you are one of the many Hawks fans that are just now starting to realize the potential this team has, here is a recap of how the Hawks got here. It all started with the hiring of Danny Ferry as the President of Basketball Operations in 2012. Ferry had been working in the Spurs front office. Although Ferry is on the hot seat for the comments he said regarding Miami Heat Forward Luol Deng, he deserves a ton of credit for putting the right pieces together. Ferry hired long time Spurs Assistant, Mike Budenholzer, to be the Head Coach of the Hawks in 2013.  Also in the 2013 off-season, the Hawks found some gems. They signed Paul Millsap and Demarre Carroll to two-year deals, as well as signing Kyle Korver and Jeff Teague to cap-friendly 4-year extensions. Ferry also drafted Dennis Schröder that off-season. All these moves seemed to point to the Hawks continuing to be the treadmill team that they had been for the last decade. It seemed inevitable that we were still on pace for more years of not being quite good enough to compete for a championship but not bad enough to get high draft picks. In the 2013-2014 season, the Hawks showed promise early in the season, but that promise was halted because of an injury to Al Horford. However, all was not lost. The players such as Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver, and others showed obvious signs of development. Before Millsap had arrived in Atlanta he never developed or even took many three-point shots. In his first year in Budenholzer’s system, Milsap took 212 three-point shots and made them at a pretty efficient rate (35.8%). While Korver, who was only known for perhaps the purest shot in basketball, improved tremendously on the defensive side of the ball. Others guys like Jeff Teague, Mike Scott, and Dennis Schröder have also improved at an alarming rate. Ferry and Budenholzer helped create a hard working team environment that everyone can succeed under. The Hawks are now leading the East by a shocking 5 games over the Washington Wizards at the midpoint of the season. It is time for Atlanta sports fans everywhere to stop worrying about who the next head coach of the Falcons will be or what the Braves are doing and realize that the best thing in Atlanta right now is the Hawks. It is time to rise up Atlanta, however, not for the team that made this phrase famous. It is time for the city of Atlanta to rise up for the Atlanta Hawks.

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