Long Flight: How the Hawks Made Their Mark

When the NBA season began way back in late October, fans were full of excitement not knowing what was yet to come for each of the leagues’ 30 teams. But as the year continued to roll on, something was happening that put the entire NBA on notice–the emergence of the Atlanta Hawks as they were making the Eastern Conference their personal playground. At this point in time, the Hawks certainly have a lot to be proud of. They currently hold the Number 1 seed in the East, they have clinched the southeast division title, and hold the league’s second best record at 53-17. These are all extraordinary accomplishments, especially for a team who barely made the playoffs last season by clinching the 8th and final spot with a 38-44 record. For the first time in a long time (since the glory days of Dominique Wilkins and Spud Webb), the Hawks are front and center and being talked about as one of the league’s elite teams, but one question is being asked by many:  How did this happen? And my answer to that is a combination of a few things:  great coaching and great play by the rising stars on the Hawks roster, including their four All-Stars.

Jeff Teague: Teague is having a career season as he is averaging a little over 16 PPG along with 7 assists to lead the team. Over the past few seasons, Teague has proven himself as the point guard of the future in Atlanta, and he’s proven that fact with great leadership and improving numbers both scoring and assist wise and earned himself a trip to his first All-Star appearance.

Paul Millsap: Millsap was a free-agent acquirement of Atlanta last year and has not disappointed. He is currently leading the Hawks in both points and rebounds (17 PPG, 7.9 RPG) en route to earning his spot.

Al Horford: Horford has spent each of his seven years in the NBA with the Hawks. He is the heart and soul of the team and the centerpiece in which holds the team together like a 6’10”, 250 pound glue stick. Horford has been patient in his 7 year career, and his patience is finally paying off as he is leading the team in blocks with 1.3 per game to go along with 15 points and nearly 8 rebounds as well. Along with being a leader, he is also one of the league’s best big men and his All-Star status proves that.

Kyle Korver: Looking for a word to define Korver? How about sharpshooter? Korver is currently leading the NBA in 3-point percentage with .498%, which means he is making about half of the threes that he puts up. In simpler terms, he can straight up shoot the rock. With a career 3-point percentage north of .430 %, Korver is one of the best three ball shooters of his era, and some could argue one of the best shooters in history, and a huge part of the Hawks’ offense.


When you combine the play of four All-Stars with the great coaching of Mike Budenholzer, you have a team who is poised to make a long run in the Eastern Conference playoffs and ready to be an elite force for years to come.