Head Coach: Mike Budenholzer
Regular Season Team MVP: The New York Knicks
First Round Opponent: Indiana Pacers
Regular Season Series vs. Pacers: 2-2
Strengths: They’re not the worst at anything. However, they’re kind of the definition of mediocrity. The Hawks are OK on offense and aren’t the worst on defense. They’re 15th in offensive rating (103.4) an 14th in defensive rating (104.1). They’re also the only team in the playoffs with a losing record, and I guess there’s a reason why. Their biggest strength this seasons has been the New York Knicks inability to take advantage of the Hawks disinterest in making the playoffs.
Weaknesses: Where do I start? For one, based on their record alone you can tell that inconstancy has been a staple for the Hawks this season. The fact that Atlanta lost its star, Al Horford, early in the season hasn’t really helped. Instead, it’s made this team pretty much a non-threat. No one fears them and they haven’t proved otherwise. To be clear, there’s really no way that the Hawks should be a playoff team. They’re more like the default seed in the Eastern Conference — not to take anything away from them. This is kind of an unfair situation for them.
With that said, they did clobber the Pacers a couple weeks ago 107-88!
Playoff Ceiling: I honestly believe that their playoff ceiling is winning two games against the Indiana Pacers. However, I feel as if the Pacers are going to make this series a whole lot harder than it really has to be. With that said, I believe that it’s entirely possible that the Hawks take the Pacers to a game 7.
What Will Happen: The Hawks will win one game against the Pacers. I may be a sucker for the story, but I believe that Indiana turns their proverbial switch and returns to their former dominant self. Sorry, Hawks fans. Pacers in 5.