Hawks NBA Championship Odds: Can Trae Young Take Over in the Playoffs?
Michael Reaves/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks.
Atlanta Hawks NBA Championship Odds
Atlanta Hawks Analysis
On Jan. 16, the Hawks, who had made the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021, were the most disappointing team in the NBA (including the Los Angels Lakers) as they were just 17-25.
They had an elite offense at the time led by Trae Young as they were fourth in Offensive Rating (113.2), but they couldn’t stop a nosebleed defensively as they were 28th in Defensive Rating (115.2). De’Andre Hunter had just come back from an injury that sidelined him since mid November, and his defensive presence on the wing gave the Hawks an element they didn’t have without him.
Since Jan. 16, the Hawks have the seventh-best record in the NBA as they have gone 26-14 over that span with the third-best Offensive Rating in the league (119.4) and the 16th-best Defensive Rating (114.4).
Had the season gone on for another month, it’s very possible that the Hawks would have ended up as the sixth seed, but they still fell into the Play-In Tournament and needed to win two consecutive games as the ninth seed in order to face the top seeded Heat in the first round.
Their elite offense that ranks first in the NBA with a 100.1 half-court Offensive Rating (per Cleaning The Glass) will give them a chance against anyone, but they need their defense to step up and not be a huge liability. Their third-ranked 3-point shooting percentage, certainly gives them a puncher’s chance against the Heat’s defense that is designed to give up shots from the perimeter.