It might be hard to believe, but the Hawks really are this good

The famous Chris Paul is outnumbered by Hawks. (Chris Carlson/AP photo)

The famous Chris Paul is outnumbered by Hawks. (Chris Carlson/AP photo)

The famous Chris Paul is outnumbered by Hawks. (Chris Carlson/AP photo)

There’s a part of me that still wonders if this is real. (I’ve lived in Atlanta since 1984, which explains a lot of it.) I keep looking at the Atlanta Hawks’ schedule and thinking, “OK, here’s where they’re going to lose,” but they don’t. They almost never lose anymore. Is this really possible?

They’re 19-2 since Thanksgiving. In December they won consecutive games against the Bulls, the Cavaliers, the Rockets, the Mavericks and the Clippers. They just completed the kind of Western swing that would yield a 1-2 record at best; they went 3-0, winning in Salt Lake City, in Portland and in L.A. against the Clippers on Monday.

They have the best record in the Eastern Conference. They hold the third-best record in the NBA. They’re beating the kind of teams they never used to beat, and they’re not just lucking out — they’re winning big. They’re the Atlanta Hawks. Is this really possible?

It is, because these Hawks have a splendid coach and are talented in a way that not many NBA teams aspire to be. Remember how we’d say, “The Hawks will never be a contender until they get a superstar?” Well, they don’t have a superstar but they’re darned sure a contender. They’ve gone the 2004 Detroit Pistons route — the one all but written off as an aberration — and have five really good starters, and their mesh has been superior to the thrown-together LeBron-Love-Irving Cavs, who were supposed to rule the East. (Granted, LeBron is hurting, but the Hawks routed Cleveland even when he wasn’t.)

Even if you’ve been tracking the Hawks’ season, it was still jarring to see them rated No. 1 in Marc Stein’s power rankings on ESPN — stunning because (according to Stein) it hadn’t happened since Lenny Wilkens’ first season as coach here in 1993-94, stunning mostly because these are the Hawks, the team we Atlantans love to ignore. But we can’t ignore the standings, and we can’t ignore the way these guys are playing. Yes, this is possible. Yes, these really are the Hawks.

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103 comments
BobDawg
BobDawg

and don't forget that we get the NETS first round pick this year… Ferry pulled off the trade of the Century for Joe Johnson… Geez, get our GM back here, NOW!

Jerry916
Jerry916

If the Hawks go .500 the rest of the season, they'll still win 50 games!


Let hope for continued good health for them.  I'm excited to see them in the playoffs with expectations of winning multiple rounds.

HappyPanther
HappyPanther

The Detroit Pistons were 5 and 23 with Josh Smith this year, but are 6 and 0 since cutting him, beating the Spurs in San Antonio last night.  Who decided that the Hawks could do without him two years ago?  Whoever it was, PAY THEM.  Who hired NBA Coach of the Year Coach Bud?  Whoever it was, PAY THEM.

tekila1
tekila1

No credit to Ferry? Oh that's right you're one of the ones that said he should go. Haha

That's why you write for a rag and don't own a business.

They still don't get respect. The latest odds in vegas still have the cavs at better odds to win a title. 

In fact, hawks are 3rd best in conf and about 7th best overall. Weird considering they have the best record by far since thanksgiving

gmaye
gmaye

Here we go again, Atlanta fans and Mark Bradley jumping on the hawks wave now, let's see, we are in January, please Atlanta losers, wait till June during playoffs and championship time, when will you people in Atlanta get it?


Does this team sound like the Braves, Falcons during the regular season? and choke during playoffs , wait 6 mos and we will hear from Bradley how UGA will win NAT this year, along with Tech.  


When will these losers team and fans get it.

SOB
SOB

Is Artie Blank paying attention? Great general manager + really great head coach = one of the best teams in the league. Almost overnight it seems! Artie, are you paying attention to the formula for success?

merbertmoover
merbertmoover

Yeah, hopefully ATL will really get behind this team.  I'm here in the Philippines and watching every single game.  If I was still in GA I'd be trying to go to a few games a month at least.  This is a quality product that's put out on the floor every night.  Win or lose, it's a quality product.  


You get the feeling that no matter what kind of bad situation they're in, the Hawks (via Coach Bud) will calmly figure out a way to get out of it and get the momentum back.  


Also, I love the Grantland interview with Dennis Schroder.  Did anyone else know he is a great skateboarder?  He can even do kickflips.  That's pretty sweet....

HopelessinAtlanta
HopelessinAtlanta

Impressive team play ala the Spurs. And would some Atlanta journalist step up and give credit where credit is due - to Danny Ferry. He is the architect behind this team and deserves kudos for building this team. Also time to put aside the controversy of his infamous statement and reinstate him to his position. I for one still believe that to have been the most over-hyped load of crap. He's apologized to everyone under the sun and reached out to all involved but I know there are many Atl journalists who won't be happy till there's blood on the floor just so they can once again pontificate to the masses and play their moral superiority game. 

vandesan
vandesan

You can't believe it? I've been a Hawks fan since 1965 in St. Louis when Zelmo Beatty, Jumping Joe Caldwell and Len Wilkins were the prime players. They play better now than since the won the championship in 1958 and they had the most underrated player in NBA history on that team -- Bob Pettit, the league's first power forward.

stogiefogey
stogiefogey

A winning pro sports team in ATL is a long overdue breath of fresh air. Unfortunately we've seen this Hawks movie many, many times; they'll kill it in the regular season then collapse like a house 'o cards in the early playoffs.

kennesawk
kennesawk

Still cant believe we lost to the Lakers. We'll get em next time for sure. 

kennesawk
kennesawk

I told yall about Teague when we drafted him. I said hed be the best pg in his draft class, and Im standing by it.




"Terrell"

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

Im convinced if we can just get the top seed in the playoffs we can make it to the ECF.   If Hawks are #1 and Chicago and Toronto are #2, 3 that will knock one of them out of the playoffs.  The Hawks getting the top seed gives us a pretty darn good chance at getting to the NBA Finals.  Wow wouldnt that be something!    

atlfanman
atlfanman

Really? Yeah, I'm surprised they are so focused. At this point they are not the typical Atlanta Hawks we seen before. Looking forward to seeing more improvement and more wins. GO HAWKS!

WhopperDawg
WhopperDawg

To have a team this good in the state of Georgia, college or pro, is a rarity. I enjoyed the team last year and they are better this year. I am enjoying the ride.

KBP
KBP

@ Wilbo,


What about this team implies they are not as good as their record says they are? Early season wins don't mean you're going to the NBA Finals but they do mean a lot especially when you take into account the teams they have beaten. If Golden State  lost 4 straight they could possibly drop out  of the top 4 also. I expect them to lose at least 20-25 games but that does not diminish the fact they are an outstanding team  .  What more is there to learn about them at the All-Star break that you don't know right now after 41% of their games as you stated?


Wilbo
Wilbo

They've played 41% of the season. A 4 game swing, which is NOTHING in the NBA, would drop them down to 4th in the East. 


In the overall scheme, early season wins mean    NOTHING!!!!!!!


You people (especially the homeless man looking blogger responsible for this silliness) need to keep your underclothing on for a few more weeks. Speaking of underclothing, Bradley probably got his from the same thrift shop the rest of his wardrobe came from.


Does the AJC not have somebody who could tell this dude to spiff himself up a little before he goes on camera? Good grief!

FrankieB
FrankieB

Stein was saying this is the first time they've been #1 in the East this late in a season, not the first time they're #1 in the power rankings.  I remember them being #1 during the Joe-Josh-Woody era when they started 6-0 or something.

Slimjr
Slimjr

Jeffrey Demarco Teague is not playing like an All-Star. He is playing like an MVP candidate on both sides of the floor!


The #19th pick out of Wake Forrest may perhaps be "the steal" of any Hawk draft in their entire History?

-sting-
-sting-

welcome to the band wagon mark. been here waiting on you and al these other folks.


now can you do something to free danny ferry so we can continue to build on this every day he is away we are losing time. it was his leadership much to the chagrin of little mikey gearon that got us here. please pray mikey and his gang are gone by april. i have pledged not to go back until mikey is gone having been a season ticket holder for a long time. won't pay a dime to him. enjoy folks but if you like your hawks make sure you let mikey know he isn't wanted.

SeanLB
SeanLB

What you are seeing right now is the result of a GREAT coaching hire, a sound GM (I know he's embattled, but the more info that emerges, the more we realize that the OWNERS are the problem there), and a roster of selfless players.  These guys play team defense, are unselfish with the basketball, and seem to possess a very high basketball IQ.


Wake up, Atlanta.  These Hawks deserve your attention and respect!  Go Hawks!  

HBLWWClyde
HBLWWClyde

"Yes....and ESPN called out the Atlanta media (and that includes the AJC) for not having a single reporter covering the Hawks on the road. Guess the budget is really tight the days for a daily newspaper......or local TV stations."




The budget ain't tight. They just spend all they money covering the Falcons and the Braves. 

HBLWWClyde
HBLWWClyde

The Hawks don't need any high priced free agents. All we need to do is keep this team together and we will be fine. Pay Millsap whatever he wants and keep pushing. Cry baby free agents don't guarantee nothing.


Authur Blank need to take note of this Hawks team. They brought players in that fit their system. Blank just spends money and hopes his team will be good.



BobDawg
BobDawg

@HappyPanther Yep, Danny Ferry is the MAN… Bring him back from shame and PAY THE MAN. 

Wilbo
Wilbo

@gmaye Will this numbnutt blogger ever get it? 


Very doubtful. This dude ain't got the good sense to pour peepee out of a boot.

TeheranHeight
TeheranHeight

@SOB Arthur Blank is getting paid, thats all he cares about. Rather the falcons win it all or not, its all about keep them competitive so the fans will always believe. He better ask the Atlanta Braves and Hawks about our fans. Winning regular season games isn't enough for us


DawgNole
DawgNole

@stogiefogey

That's certainly been their history in ATL. Just have to hope that after 46 years of postseason failure, they're finally ready to take the next step.

1337S0lja
1337S0lja

I think they used to get around 47 or 48 wins in the ISO Joe days.  This team is different. Everytime this team wins more people understand what Ferry was talking about when he said he wanted to create a "winning culture"

SeanLB
SeanLB

@stogiefogey They're winning differently than in the past, though.  This team isn't "getting hot and shooting the lights out" then cooling off later.  They're finally playing with a "winning formula", which has confused and frustrated the NBA's elite.  

1337S0lja
1337S0lja

@kennesawk It was early in the year and things were still being fixed on the defensive side. Also, Bud has become very good at subbing the right guys in when they are needed. Understand this is my first time seeing a team that actually plays offense and defense...something that our other sports teams cant really figure out.  The fact is that this is just the beginning of what a winning culture truly looks like.

Transition O, Transition D, Ball Movement, Teamwork, No rediculous contracts, no low IQ players, etc... Lets just hope we get the right owner and he makes the right decision in keeping Danny.

WPL
WPL

@BravesFan79 I agree, if the hawks gets home court throughout eastern playoffs, I believe they would make it to the finals.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@BravesFan79

It would be more than just "something"; it would be a FIRST for the ATL Hawks.

Wilbo
Wilbo

@KBP Easy. How they will respond when teams that matter start to take them seriously, and aggressively tailor game plans to thwart them. How they will hold up physically and emotionally after 50-60- 65-70 games. How worn down they will get when this relatively shorter frontline has to guard and rebound weeks on end against bigger men. What kind of consistent offense they will come up late in the season when fatigue and emotional pressure cuts down their jump shot %.


Looking good early as a "surprise contender" does not mean diddly squat in a long, hard, fluid professional season.

Wilbo
Wilbo

@HBLWWClyde The budget must be INCREDIBLY tight, if they are stuck w the 2 absolute morons they have writing these articles. Maybe they don't send these 2 buffoons to cover Hawks games because they are too stupid to board a plane? More likely they realize, like some of you apparently don't, an early season flash in the pan doesn't mean diddly when crunch time comes.

Slimjr
Slimjr

@HBLWWClyde 

Arthur is in denial about his elite Quarterback...

Flacco >  Ice Melt by a long shot...

But hey the $1,000,000,000.00 stadium is on schedule

Wilbo
Wilbo

@TeheranHeight @SOB Is Arthur Shooting Blanks happy because he's getting paid, or is he happy because he's getting on TV in his little clown costume?


He looks like his mommie dressed him after a couple of doobies and a visit to a Roaring 20's Thrift Shop. Somebody just needs to tell the dude people w money and actual good sense don't dress like they think they're going to a Great Gatsby theme party.

Wilbo
Wilbo

@TeheranHeight @SOB Oh, you're 100% wrong, there! Braves fans put up w almost 2 decades of regular season excellence and post season terribleness and ate it up like it was ice cream. Hawks & Falcons pretty much same. Giants beat Falcons 24-2. Packers beat them 1/2 to death. Choked like dogs against Seattle and SF, but fans were still treating Matty Nice like he was the Baby Jesus.

Jerry916
Jerry916

@1337S0lja @kennesawk The Hawks will  e faced with the need to add payroll.  They have a few key players coming to the end of their current contracts, so raises will be sought.  Let's just hope that they can continue to move forward.


I would like to see Brooklyn drop out of the playoffs so that the Hawks can get their draft spot in 2015.  Wouldn't it be nice for the Hawks win the championship, and get the 1st pick in the draft!

Jusfellofftheturniptruck
Jusfellofftheturniptruck

They were a first seed back in the mookie blaylock/Steve smith era

Think they lost in the first round

Jerry916
Jerry916

@Wilbo @KBP Coach Bud was getting godd production from the bench earlier, but for the past few games, the bench production (scoring wise) hasn't been stellar.


If they can get good, consistent play from 4 - 6 players on the bench on a regular bases, then Coach Bud could allow the starters to get more rest.

Wilbo
Wilbo

@Sautee @Wilbo I went to my first Braves game in July 1968. Started going to at least a game a week in the 1982 Horner and Murphy heyday. I was 1/5 owner of 2 season dugout tickets 1997-2003. Got too excited to drive, so I pulled off into a parking lot on the side of Pharr Rd, and listened to the unfortunate second 1/2 of the Falcons Cowboys game in January of 1981. Followed Tree Rollins at Clemson, but didn't really start going to ugly Phillips Arena to watch him and 'Nique and Randy Wittman until about 1983.


I'm not a troll, Mr. Suggah, but I am EXTREMELY well versed in the tease and flop routine of Atlanta pro sports teams.


If I had the $ back + maybe a little interest that I've spent on tickets to Hawks, Braves, and Falcons games, I could buy a lake house.


More than anything, I object to the morons the AJC hires to write about these flash-n-fold teams.

RonMexico
RonMexico

@Wilbo @HBLWWClyde Yet you're the absolute moron here, because you clicked on the article, and then you boosted its popularity by throwing trash all over the comment thread. 

Wilbo
Wilbo

@TeheranHeight @SOB Matty Nice, as in nice to opposing cornerbacks throwing them little patty cake interceptions in the 3rd and 4th quarters of playoffs games. Nice to big dumb ugly defensive linemen, too. Dropping fumbles for them to dive all over.

JR947
JR947

@Jusfellofftheturniptruck  That was the 1993-94 season when they had the best record in the East (57-25).  They acutally won the first round vs. Miami 3-2 (first round was best-of-five back then) and lost to Indiana in the second round in six games.