At this rate, who knows if the Atlanta Hawks really want to make the NBA Playoffs for a seventh consecutive season? They have been without Al Horford practically all season after he tore a pectoral muscle, and now they have missed Paul Millsap for the last four games. Sure, the players and coaching staff would like to win games and make the playoffs, but does the front office want that? With a quality draft coming up, wouldn’t it be helpful to land a good young player?
The Hawks were 25-21 on Feb. 1, sitting in the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference standings. Since then, they have won just one game and their record now stands at 26-33 following their blowout defeat at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Luckily for the Hawks (or unluckily) they are in the dreadful Eastern Conference. Even with such a poor record the team still sits in the eighth playoff spot, two games ahead of the Detroit Pistons and 2.5 games ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Playing without Millsap, the Hawks were easily defeated on the road, 102-78, by Nicolas Batum, Damian Lillard and company. That drubbing happened despite LaMarcus Aldridge not having a good game for the Blazers. The load was simply too much for Jeff Teague to carry as he and his teammates struggled mightily.
Where does Mike Budenholzer’s club go from here? It’s likely that their free-fall will continue for at least a couple more games before any potential uptick. The Hawks will continue their road-trip as they are set to square off against the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers in back-to-back nights this weekend.
Even if they lose their next couple of games they will still probably find themselves sitting with a two-game lead for the eighth spot. That’s just how bad the rest of the Eastern Conference is.