2015-16 NBA Previews – Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks came out of nowhere to win the Eastern Conference regular season title. They put together a long winning streak that thrust them to the front and played a pleasing style of game focused on passing, creating space and outside shooting. They were so unexpectedly good that it is natural to assume they will dip this season.
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Atlanta Hawks Season Preview
Head Coach: Mike Buddinger
2014 Record: 60-22
Hawks Odds to NBA Title: +3300
Hawks Odds to Win Conference: +1400
The Hawks are primed to be one of the top contenders in the East. They are not always flashy but they win.
One of the great strengths of the Hawks is that they are not dominated by any one position on the floor. They will miss Demare Carroll but they are above average, in fact well above, all around the court.
Not to be overlooked is the role that shooter Kyle Korver plays. He was the best three point marksman in the league last season and he opens everything up for this team. He is such a big threat.
Also, last year the league learned just how far PG Jeff Teague has come as a player. He keeps things organized, can score and is getting better defensively.
Up front they have two of the most unselfish bigs in Paul Milsap and Al Horford. All they do is make the right basketball play all game long.
Last year ended with a disappointment in the playoffs but there is every reason to expect this team to challenge again.
This team was not a great defensive team last year and they lost their best stopper in Carroll. More importantly he was the only guy on the team who could get after the LeBron types. His loss will be most felt in the playoffs.
The Hawks are at an interesting in their development. They came so far so fast last year that the expectations are going to be really high this year. Can they handle the pressure because nobody used to pay attention to them?
As good as this team is they lack that transcendent kind of star who gets the job done when everyone in the building knows where the ball is going. They are trying to mirror San Antonio, who has won without that kind of player but they are the original, not the imitation.
Hawks 2015 Betting Prediction:
The Hawks should definitely win the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference and they way they play they are going to cover more than their fair share of games because they know what they are and play to their strengths.
The hard part for this team is figuring out how they are going to do against the other good teams out there. They don’t match up great with the Cavs but the teams out West, which play with more flow, are better matchups. Look for some road games there where they might be underdogs.
Generally speaking the Hawks are going to be an over team. They take and make good shots and their defense isn’t suffocating.
Hawks Key Personnel Losses:
- SF Demare Carroll
- C Pero Antic
- C Zaza Pachulia
The big loss here is Carroll who was their best defensive player and an emerging offensive threat. The others were rotation size which they have likely overcome.
Hawks Top Newcomers:
- C Tiago Splitter
- SG Tim Hardaway Jr.
- SG Justin Holiday
Splitter should give them more up front than they were getting from some of the players they lost. The other two are going to be part of their mix and match approach to replacing Carroll.
The offense might not suffer but the defense is a downgrade.
- G Lamar Patterson
- SF Terran Petteway
These two are also in the mix on the wing. I am not excited about either contributing all that much this season.
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