30 NBA Teams in 30 Days: Atlanta Hawks

Joseph EdmondsonCorrespondent IAugust 4, 2010

ATLANTA - MAY 10:  Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks against Rashard Lewis #9 of the Orlando Magic during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on May 10, 2010 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.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

UPDATE: Out of respect for a fellow writer on B/R, I'd like to point you to John Friel, who has already started a similar project which you can view on his profile by clicking his name.

Dr. Neff, my former philosophy professor, stood in front of my class one evening and told us he wanted us to learn about the "non-Self." He explained that a university's goal isn't to teach you what you already know, but to broaden your horizons by showing you what you don't know. He said he wanted to make us uncomfortable and challenge our beliefs. He didn't want to change our opinions, he wanted to enhance them and make them stronger.

Sun Tzu stressed the importance of warriors knowing their enemies as he defined war strategy and philosophy still used in militaries around the globe.

In the spirt of knowing my enemies and learning more about what I don't know, I'm going to write an article about one NBA team every day for 30 days.

It's called "30 NBA Teams in 30 Days" and the first stop is the Atlanta Hawks.

The Atlanta Hawks, who are known for last season's lackluster series (read: collapse) against the Orlando Magic and giving Joe Johnson (pictured) a huge contract, started as the Tri-Cities Hawks in 1950.

In the team's 61 years, including stops in Milwaukee and St. Louis, they have made the playoffs 39 times with their most successful span coming during their time as the St. Louis Hawks. From 1955-1968, the St. Louis squads appeared in the playoffs in all but one season. They made four Finals appearances and won it all in 1958, the franchise's only championship.

Since moving to Atlanta, the team has enjoyed 26 playoff runs and four division crowns, but that may be eclipsed by its .492 winning percentage due, in part, to a pitiful stretch between 1999 and 2007 in which the team only won 218 games, the second-fewest of all teams during that same time. In contrast, the San Antonio Spurs won 466 games in that timeframe.

With three straight playoff appearances, Atlanta now finds itself in the mix of Eastern Conference contenders, relying on Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Mike Bibby to get the job done. Though the team fought against and defeated a ferocious Milwaukee Bucks team that had the nation thinking "Fear the Deer" was a worthy catchphrase, when the squad faced Dwight Howard and the Magic, they were quickly swept, losing by an average of just over 25 points per game.

This offseason, the team re-signed both Jason Collins, a veteran center, and Joe Johnson, the 29-year-old leader of the team, while also bringing in Josh Powell, a former Lakers reserve and Atlanta native.

After replacing former head coach Mike Woodson with Larry Drew, the team is looking for improved chances in the playoffs next season hoping they won't suffer such a humiliating defeat at the hands of any team they may face.

The Hawks will still have starters Mike Bibby, Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Al Horford and Marvin Williams taking the floor next season, along with sixth-man Jamal Crawford.

An average team, both offensively and defensively, the Hawks appear to lack the chemistry and will needed to accomplish their goals even though they have a playmaker in Bibby, a legitimate star in Johnson and a beast in Smith.

Perhaps the coaching change and commitment given to Johnson will help the team overcome itself next season, but the talent level in the East, and the team's own division, will leave it on the outside looking in during next season's Eastern Conference Finals.

Expect the Hawks to win around 40 games and make the playoffs with the sixth-most wins in the conference, trailing Boston, Chicago, Milwaukee, Miami and Orlando.

Atlanta fans, if I missed something, was way off, or you think I'm flat-out wrong, let me know in the comments.


Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference, 82Games, and HoopData, which are all valuable sites for basketball enthusiasts.