Posted: 9:23 am Thursday, April 17th, 2014

3 reasons why Hawks can push Indiana 

By Jeff Schultz

Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap and Hawks will be significant underdogs vs. Pacers.

Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap and Hawks will be significant underdogs vs. Pacers.

The Hawks made the playoffs, which means the team that has no real chance to win the NBA title or probably even a postseason series will not be in the draft lottery or draft higher than 15th (barring a trade).

In most circumstances, the draft wouldn’t be a talking point on the eve of the playoffs. But the Hawks’ organization has made it no secret that tomorrow is a bigger priority than today at this stage of their building project and, well, it’s hard to dispute that mindset.

But the playoff series against Indiana isn’t without some significance. Here are three reasons why:

1.) EFFORT: While the Hawks aren’t a great team, particularly minus Al Horford, they play hard. Other teams don’t like to play them. That’s a good thing. They may be relative gnats in the 16-team playoff field but gnats are kind of a pain. That’s a credit to general manager Danny Ferry for his roster selection, coach Mike Budenholzer for getting players to buy in and most of all the players for not cashing it in when they easily (and almost did) blow a playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference. If the Hawks can continue that level or effort and toughness in the postseason, it will be a positive sign for the future.

2.) TEAGUE: Guard Jeff Teague (16.5 points, 6.7 assists) has been really good at times this season. And he has been really ordinary at times. The Hawks’ don’t function well when he’s ordinary. If Teague is aggressive with the ball – as he was last week when he won conference player of the week honors, averaging 20.3 points, 5.8 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals in four games – the Hawks can do some damage against the Pacers. His play theoretically also could impact offseason plans. Ferry never has publicly committed to any player on the roster. Teague is only one year into a four-year contract but he would not be a difficult to move if Ferry or Budenholzer saw something they didn’t like. Teague’s ability to attack offensively and lead are keys for this team moving forward.

3.) SYSTEM: Ferry and Budenholzer have spoken extensively after their San Antonio Spurs’ blueprint, in terms of how an organization is structured and the team’s playing style. How significant of an endorsement would it be if the Hawks gave the Pacers a run. They’ve been decimated by injuries all season, even beyond Horford, and weren’t that big or even that good to begin with. Ferry’s and Budenholzer’s belief is when the Hawks reach the point of running their system with consistency, they should be able to plug a player in when one goes down, without too much of a drop-off (within reason). Their starting lineup: Teague, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap, Pero Antic. Indiana’s starting lineup: George Hill, Lance Stephenson, Paul George, David West, Roy Hibbert. It’s clear which team is better on paper. That’s when the lesser team’s system is tested.

Do I think the Hawks will win this series? No. But given Indiana was a bit wobbly down the stretch, they’ve got a shot to win a couple of games.

Some recent ramblings, on demand . . .
– MyAJC: Bubba Watson goes from novelty to elite
– MyAJC: Short takes from final round
– MyAJC: Kuchar interrupts Bubba’s Bulldog coronation
– MyAJC: Short takes from third round
– Blog: Rory McIlroy’s new low: beaten by the marker
– MyAJC: Bubba Watson learned about celebrity life the hard way
– Blog: Short takes from second round
– MyAJC: Old guys don’t rule but Couples does
– MyAJC: Short takes (round 1): Phil’s flop, Scott and Cink(ing)
– MyAJC: Mickelson in position to tie Woods
– MyAJC: Without Woods, Masters is on discount rack
– MyAJC: Braves did more than just survive first week
– MyAJC: For second-best, Braves look pretty good
– MyAJC: ‘Depleted’ Braves staff has been majors’ best so far
– Blog: Short takes on Braves’ win: Pitching, replay and Uptons
– MyAJC: Nationals assumed too much in 2013 — but not now
– Blog: As Freeman powers Braves, Upton still searching for…anything
– MyAJC: B.J. Upton is under fire — and he knows it
– Blog: Tiger Woods out and Masters will take a hit
– MyAJC: Teheran does his part but Braves lose anyway
– Blog: Short take on Braves’ loss to Milwaukee
– MyAJC: Strong opener by Teheran would ease some Braves’ concerns
– MyAJC: Injuries means Braves have little margin for error
– MyAJC: NCAA needs to take the hint, start paying players
– Blog: Mike Mills’ song pushes Dale Murphy for Hall of Fame
– MyAJC: Did Dimitroff lose benefit of doubt after bad season?
– Blog: Dimitroff on Falcons, failure, his draft board and Umenyiora
26 comments
devounknown1000
devounknown1000

Asik is not happy in Houston, I say get him in the off season if the Hawks want go to next level, and sign free agent Rudy Gay, Hawks will have the best team in the east next season.


ASIK FOR KORVER AND LOU


GO HAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HarveyPooka
HarveyPooka

Don't get so excited.  Hawks may have a chance at this series, but only because Pacers are self-imploding. 

IAW
IAW

With Ferry and Budenholzer now running the show the the media has lowered the exceptions so significantly. This season's performance would have been a failure if LD was still the coach. This team won 38 games people.

DawgNole
DawgNole

JS: "Do I think the Hawks will win this series? No. But given Indiana was a bit wobbly down the stretch, they’ve got a shot to win a couple of games."

_____________________

So that's what we're shooting for after 47 years without so much as a single Round 2 series victory in ATL--a couple of games in Round 1? Wow.

It's a strong example, sadly, of the depths to which this city's pro sports ambitions have sunk.


BTC
BTC

The bigger the cushion, the better the pushin'...

TreeRollins
TreeRollins

3 Reasons Why Atlanta Has No Chance vs Pacers are because the Hawks are made up of the following:

1) Mutts

2) Mongrels

3) Do-nothing GM Danny Ferry who went into hiding during all the injuries instead of supplementing the roster

So this team badly needed to go for the lottery and even failed at that! Now it's the Hawks version of One And Done while they ponder a miserable offseason with no significant additions.

seminoleking
seminoleking

why cant yall see that the nba and the hawks ownership are PLAYING yall?? the nba is a fixed travelling circus, no different than wrestling or bt barnum and bailey. as long as they can break even or make a little profit, atlanta will never be ALLOWED to field a championship caliber team. the nba only cares about its bigger markets. the ONLY reason they havent fixed it so that the knicks win a championship is because the knicks make HUGE money and sellout regardless of the fact they dont have a recent championship. that referee told yall what was up a few years back.  the lottery is beyond a laughable fixed joke.......


the hawks will "win" a few games and expand the playoff series out to at least 6 games like last year, maybe even 7, so that the networks can sell advertising dollars. its a joke......

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

3 Reasons they WONT!

1. TEAGUE......"The Hawks’ don’t function well when he’s ordinary."

2.SYSTEM........."It’s clear which team is better on paper."

3. It is the Hawks..........EFFORT: While the Hawks aren’t a great team.............

Apologies for copying off of your paper JS but you gave us all the reasons in the blog!

GSU93
GSU93

Winning 2 games would be an accomplishment IMO.  With all the players leaving early for he NBA this year, they should be able to get a good player at #15 plus the Nets pick further down..

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

So I guess we shouldn't watch then Dawgface?  I guess I should have stayed home in '95 instead of enjoying D Justice hit that home run?  I for one will be watching, this team smoked Indiana AND Miami with all of the injuries...I'm not saying we advance but when we get Horford back with a full year under the Bud system I think this team is on the rise.   Braves playing great and I guarantee the Falcons are back in the playoffs next year.


We could be Cleveland, Washington, Detroit etc....

dawgfacedboy
dawgfacedboy

A team with no superstars is only going to get you so much. The limped into the playoffs with a sub .500 record for crying out loud.

It's a team from Atlanta in the playoffs. This bed has been pooped in plenty of times.

syrupmaker
syrupmaker

Everyone keeps talking about the "San Antonio" system and how successful its been.  That system works because of talented players.  It started with drafting the best power foward of all-time, Tim Duncan along with a all timer in David Robinson, and a floor general by the name of Tony Parker.  Don't kid yourself into thinking you just plug in average players.  You need real talent as a cornestone, with pieces built around it. Who is our cornerstone? Al Horford? Please!  With that being said, Indiana is a flawed team and sinking ship.  Don't be surprised if Atlanta wins this series.  And if we meet Brooklyn in the second round, hello ECF!!

JChikara
JChikara

Sorry Jeff, I don't think the Hawks are talented enough to win a series at this juncture. The Pacers were a team waiting for the season to end and will hit the reset button come Saturday. The Hawks will give a lot of effort, but outside of Teague I don't expect any other matchups to go Atlanta's way. Pacers will sweep, but this will hopefully give the Hawks (and more importantly, Danny Ferry) a chance to look at the changes that need to be made to this roster. 

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

Win it all Hawks, Atlanta fans are tired of waiting.

jerunamo
jerunamo

Hawks win, Hawks Win, Hawks Win!!!!........

Wayne_stuck_in_AL
Wayne_stuck_in_AL

@seminoleking  "atlanta will never be ALLOWED to field a championship caliber team. the nba only cares about its bigger markets."


Please explain to me the continued success of San Antonio and OKC?

dawgfacedboy
dawgfacedboy

@CowbellHell

I didn't say that. Referencing the 1 time in the last 20 years they didn't poop the bed doesn't justify what we've watched every year in various sports since 91.

jerunamo
jerunamo

Hawks Win!!!! Hawks Win!!!!

jschultz
jschultz moderator

@JChikara Agree. They're not talented enough, which is why I didn't predict they would win the series. But for Pacers to sweep they'll have to play better than how they've been playing.