In what stands as the month in Atlanta Hawks history, the outperforming, outmaneuvering, out-of-their-collective-minds Hawks are looking like oil barons ready to drink up opportunity where none other saw any. A team with no household name, just posted the best, and only 17-0, month in NBA lore. Ready those milkshakes, gentlemen.
Ranked across various circles as the NBA’s best team, these once-ragtag Hawks now stand as an established powerhouse, ready to take on all comers. And how they have.
During their 19-0 run (17-0 for month of Jan.), they’ve raced past the likes of Toronto, Chicago, Memphis, Washington, the Clippers, the Blazers (twice), OKC, and a streaking Detroit (twice). And, if the fifth-longest win streak in NBA history doesn’t get your feathers on edge, how about the fact that they’ve now won 33 out of their last 35? Not enough? Well, consider that in their close win against Philly, it was the first time in over 30 days that they did not lead moving into the fourth quarter. They’ve just excelled on all fronts with flying, yes, flying colors.
Some of that has to do with the Kyle Korver effect, but a whole lot else has to do with a team-first system that is leaving star-built teams behind in its destruction. Sure, having generational talents like LeBron on a complementary team can still prove to be successful as we’ve seen in the Cavs’ last ten, but the Hawks are in a whole different stratosphere.
They’re ranked fifth in Offensive Rating and third in Defensive Rating which is only eclipsed by the stellar numbers of Golden State, who is notching third and first in the same categories. Sure, the Warriors have the star talent to disprove an every-guy-on-the-roster-beats-you philosophy started with last year’s champs, the Spurs, but the Hawks have only recently clicked. We have yet to see how far this elevator may take us. Or, what the height of the Ferry/Budenholzer bold experiment might turn out to be. Out of the ten prior teams to breach 18-plus straight wins, seven went on to secure the O’Brien. The precedence is there, surely. Now, it’s just a matter of seeing where the frontier takes a Hawks team that is hungry for a new reality.