Kyle Korver, Al Horford, Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll. Five names most people would look at and say “I have no idea who these guys are, nor do I really care”; that is unless you are an Atlanta Hawks fan. These five guys (not the famous Burger joint) are your starting line-up for the 3rd best team in the eastern conference, and possibly a top five team in the NBA. But unless you are in Atlanta, no one really cares to acknowledge this team. STAND UP ATLANTA! You now have a team to be unabashedly proud of and to cheer for without remorse, or fear of ridicule, scorn or contempt from the bandwagoning peers that we all have around us living in the A.
When you’re around the Georgia Dome, you’re usually reminded of the annual disappointment that is our beloved Falcons team. Ups, downs, sad thoughts, aggravation and words most kids aren’t allowed to say is what immediately comes to mind. Stop by Phillips Arena, however, and you will experience a very different feeling. Hear that? No, it’s not a T.I. concert, nor is it the infamous Hot 107.9 Birthday Bash; that my friends is your 2014-2015 Atlanta Hawks, and they are on FIRE! They have won their 12 of their last 14 games, including impressive wins over conference foes like the Washington Wizards, Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic and (most recently) the Chicago Bulls (with an almost healthy Derrick Rose). Some will say the Hawks have played an easy schedule so far, but in the words of the great Dominic Toretto, “It don’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s Winning.”
On the season, Kyle Korver is shooting over 50 percent behind the arc and over 57 percent at home, a league best as of 12/15/14, and is averaging (3.0) 3-pointers made per game, second only to Steph Curry. PG Jeff Teague is already being mentioned as an all-star candidate and Paul Millsap could easily return to the All-Star squad for a second straight year. Most importantly, Al Horford is finally returning to form after a season-ending (pectoral) injury last year, not to mention he is also the only Hawk in double digit (in Millions) salary numbers as well. Of course then there is that Carroll guy, who many people forget was a 2009 first round pick (27th overall by Memphis). After bouncing around the league for several years with several different clubs, Atlanta signed DeMarre Carroll in 2013. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Carroll was on a 6A team that won back-to-back state championships, during which he averaged double digit scoring and rebounding, in his final two seasons of high school. When you really think about it, it should be no wonder these guys are 17-7 so far this year.
So where’s the support Atlanta? Even during another emotionally draining Falcons season, and while fan support seems to be in serious trouble for the Braves as of late, the Hawks are still ranked 25th out of 30 NBA teams in attendance, averaging just over 15K per game. Granted, after several mediocre seasons and barely making the playoffs the last several years, the Hawks haven’t provided much for us to cheer for in the past. The eastern conference is seen as weak, the west has been much more dominant, the hawks have no big name stud player…I could go on for another hour with excuses for why they haven’t had the support. Instead, let me give you a little insight as to why you should care, and why we should all start buying Hawks tickets immediately.
For anyone who wasn’t already aware, Hawks GM Danny Ferry has comprised a team of 8 first round picks, 7 second round picks, a pedestrian payroll figure compared to the rest of the league, and put together a product on the floor that has even began to attract some major celebrity attendees, including major musical artists like Ludacris and 2chains, both spotted at the Bulls game just last night! He hired a coach with genuine basketball knowledge and experience in the game in Coach Budenholzer. Coach Bud’s players have bought into his system, and for the first time in a long time the entire country, not just the Peach State, is talking about the Atlanta Hawks. In a time when Atlanta sports fans haven’t had much to be cheerful about, the Hawks could finally be THE talk of the town. Most birds fly south for the winter, but the Atlanta Hawks are just flying higher and higher…hopefully soon to the top of the eastern conference. So grab your girl, guy or crew, whatever floats your boat, and get down to Phillips Arena ASAP! As the NBA season heats up, our support will only grow to be more crucial, as our Atlanta Hawks compete for playoff positioning and Eastern Conference (or better) Supremacy!