Atlanta Hawks: The real deal and more impressive than ever

Atlanta Hawks: The real deal and more impressive than ever

Emmett Schindler, Sports editor, reporter

Maintaining a 19-game winning streak, with 17 victories during January alone, and thrusting all five starters into the Player of the Month status, the Atlanta Hawks continue their impressive season.

Every year, basketball fans expect an average performance from the Hawks, one where they make the playoffs and get eliminated during the first round. But this season, the recently struggling team made a statement and became a possible Finals contender going into the All-Star break.

The Hawks began the season like an average NBA team. In their first 13 games, they went 7-6 and resembled their previous seasons. But when everyone least expected it, the Hawks won 19 consecutive games for a franchise record. In that run, coach Mike Budenholzer also won Coach of the Month for December and January.

The Hawks’ 17-game win January set a new NBA record. In that same month, the five starters Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Demarre Carroll, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford were named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month, which happened for the first time in history.

Teague, Millsap, and Horford were named All-star Reserves. Korver recently replaced an injured Dwyane Wade and competed in the three-point contest for his magnetic shot. In the All-Star skills challenge, Teague participated while Hawks guard Dennis Schroder replaced the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler in the challenge. Lastly, Paul Millsap joined Scottie Pippen and Elena Delle in the shooting stars challenge, replacing Anthony Davis.

Setting records left and right, beating supposedly unbeatable teams, and playing every game like the finals, the Hawks try to prove a point. Atlanta’s average days remain no longer, and they want these teams to acknowledge that. Being first in the conference by six and a half games going into the All-Star break should prove enough so far, but the Hawks still have work to do.

Sadly, people surrounding the NBA believe the Hawks are still a fluke. On Inside the NBA, reporter Bill Simmons said the Hawks possess a likely chance of progressing to the finals. But others claim that the Bulls have a better chance or that the Cavaliers are too strong with LeBron.

However, the Hawks beat the Bulls twice and remain 2-1 against the Cavaliers. What people ignore about the Hawks is their bench depth, which proves vital in games where the starters need rest. Personally, I believe the Hawks will go all the way. And to anyone who continues to underestimate the Hawks and their shot at the title: simply check the stats.

Atlanta has tested every team so far and is 38-2 when going up by at least ten points. Their 18-8 road record remains second best in the league and frightens every team they visit. Atlanta has not seen a team like this in history, and the fans love it— so might as well jump on the bandwagon now.