Hawks GM Danny Ferry Says 8th Seed 'Is Not Ever Going to Be Our Goal'

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistMarch 29, 2014

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 10: General Manager Danny Ferry of the Atlanta Hawks introduces Paul Millsap as the newest member of the Atlanta Hawks during a press conference on July 10, 2013 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
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If the Atlanta Hawks make the playoffs, they'll have a few people to thank.

Certainly, the NBA's conference alignment deserves some credit. The woeful New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers would be on the list as well.

At 31-40, the Hawks are clinging to the No. 8 spot in the dreadful Eastern Conference, just two games ahead of New York and 3.5 ahead of Cleveland.

For what it's worth, Danny Ferry—Atlanta's general manager—isn't satisfied with just making the playoffs:

That's certainly what you want to hear from the GM if you're a Hawks fan, but they aren't likely to believe anything until they see it.

The Hawks have been a staple in the Eastern Conference postseason bracket for years, but they've never been expected to go far.

If they hold on this season, it will be their seventh straight appearance in the playoffs (only the Spurs hold a longer active streak), earning them a date with the Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat.

A series against either of those teams isn't likely to last beyond four games.

Their struggles this season have had a lot to do with injuries, which have plagued them all season:

The loss of Al Horford, who went down earlier this season with a torn pectoral muscle, was the biggest blow.

On the injury sustained by Horford, Sports Illustrated's Ben Golliver said:

This injury is a big blow for the Hawks, who are currently the Eastern Conference’s No. 3 seed with an 18-14 record. ...

Horford averaged a career-high 18.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.5 blocks per game this season, and he was a strong candidate to make the 2014 All-Star Game, which would have been the third selection of his career. At the time of his injury, Horford was Atlanta’s leading scorer and rebounder.

Atlanta was on its way to a better-than-expected season before Horford went down.

If he and Millsap are able to stay healthy in 2014-15, the Hawks should be a lock to improve upon their Eastern Conference standing.

So while the Hawks may not be contending next year, they should at the very least help Ferry make good on his goal of not finishing eighth.


Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.