Comparisons are a vital part of sports. We can't set our eyes on a new talent without immediately pointing to who that player reminds us of, like the Leonardo Di Caprio meme from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I do it too, so I wish I had an answer for why we can't escape the jaws of a player-comp,...
Far-Fetched Friday: The Atlanta Hawks Fail to Make the Playoffs
By: Ryan Stein
Besides the Phoenix Suns, the Atlanta Hawks were the most surprising team to see success last season, shockingly making the Eastern Conference Finals. Coming into the season, they were seen as a potential playoff team, but not a lock by any means. To go from that to the final four in the NBA is something to be proud of for a team filled with young talent. However, this team isn't going to be surprising anyone this season. Other squads were caught off-guard by Atlanta last year, but they will be ready to game plan against a Hawks team that suddenly has a target on their backs. With that, I predict the Hawks will lose during the play-in round, failing to make it into the 2022 NBA playoffs.
Welcome back to Far-Fetched Friday, where every Friday we give you a bold prediction that we believe will come to fruition. This Friday, we look at basketball in Atlanta.
Last season was a strange one, to say the least. Teams that had made it far in the playoffs got a severely shortened offseason to recover from the Bubble. That quick turnaround from between the two seasons certainly had adverse effects for the top 4 teams from the year prior. The Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, and Los Angeles Lakers, 3 of the 4 Conference finalists from the 2020 playoffs, all got bounced in the first round of the 2021 playoffs. The Nuggets, who were the 4th finalist team, got quickly dispatched in the second round. Had those teams been given more time to recuperate from their Bubble experience, it is reasonable to believe they would've seen more success in the following playoffs. However, they were not afforded that luxury, and thus several other teams were able to take advantage and make a name for themselves, the Hawks included.
It remains to be seen whether the team's Eastern Conference Finals run was a fluke or a sign of more greatness to come. Early returns for Atlanta have not been great this season, with the team getting off to a slow start to the current season. Owners of a 4-6 record, they have not been able to carry forward the momentum they had built up at the end of last season. General lethargy has been an issue for the team thus far. Trae Young, the team's star point guard, has even gone as far to admit that regular season games are "boring" in comparison to the playoffs, a troubling sentiment for a player who has only managed to make the playoffs once so far in his three seasons in the league. While he did also state that the Hawks are still trying to figure things out this year, a good start would be their best player taking regular season games a bit more seriously.
It's entirely possible that the Hawks are merely experiencing a post-ECF hangover, and will kick things back into gear as the season rolls forward. The league waits for no team, however, and I believe that even if Atlanta can turn things around, it will be too late, leading a disappointing, playoff-less season.
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