For the past three years, this was the point of the NBA season where Hawks fans’ attention turned fully toward Tankathon and running simulations to see where the Hawks’ lottery pick would land. This was the time of year when players were heading on their summer vacations and scheduling training sessions in California. This was the time of year where every Hawks fan seemed more focused on the player(s) coming in the draft than on the ones currently on the roster. This year, however, all eyes will be on the playoffs for Atlanta.
“For me, just knowing how hard it is to get to this position, having to really rebuild our team to get to this position, it makes it that more gratifying that we’re here, but not satisfied for sure though,” Trae Young said after securing a top 6 seed with a win over Washington.
The Hawks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2017, and while the fans are certainly celebrating just making the playoffs, a first-round victory would go a long way in instilling hope for the future. Atlanta will be taking on the New York Knicks in the first round as the five seed, with the first game set to be this weekend at Madison Square Garden. While the lack of fans certainly takes away from some of the atmosphere, rest assured as both teams will be looking to put on a show in the legendary venue.
Regardless of the result of the series, it’s been an incredible season for the Atlanta Hawks. They’ve more than met their goal of reaching the postseason by avoiding having to use the play-in game to reach it. They’ve shown resiliency and toughness amid a season full of injuries, covid protocols, a coaching change, and the pressure of openly stating the goal was the playoffs.
With that being said, no one in the building is satisfied with stopping there. While the Hawks’ players and staff certainly have enjoyed the regular-season success, now is the real opportunity to do something special. Not only can they continue to win over Hawks fans by securing a first-round win, but they can change the narrative around the league about them as well.
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