Are the Atlanta Hawks a legitimate threat to win it all?

The Atlanta Hawks play one of the best brands of team basketball in the league, and it gives them as good a chance as any to win a championship.

At this point in the NBA Playoffs, it’d be silly to write off the No. 5 seed Atlanta Hawks. They’ve played their way into the Eastern Conference Finals, and now they’re a legitimate threat to win it all.

It’s important to highlight what an amazing job interim head coach Nate McMillian has done since taking over. After a 14-20 start, Atlanta has gone 35-15 (including this year’s playoffs) since McMillan stepped into the new role. He’s brought out the best of this group, and the Hawks have quickly become one of the most well-rounded teams in the league during his short tenure.

The Atlanta Hawks have quietly been one of the NBA’s best teams this season

What makes this team dangerous is, in addition to having a player who can do it all in on offense like Trae Young, is they play a great “team” game by using the contributions of their role players to win. As great as he is, they don’t rely solely on Young’s scoring by himself. This was seen in Sunday’s Game 7 win in Philadelphia. Young shot just 5-for-23 on the night, yet Atlanta stayed in the game thanks to 27 points from Kevin Huerter and 17 points from Danilo Gallinari.

They don’t have any one player who is a traditional one-on-one scoring threat outside of Young, but they have enough all-around talent where someone new can step up each game. And even when Young isn’t scoring, his playmaking abilities still create opportunities for others. Young is becoming the same type of player as Stephen Curry. The two can shoot from anywhere, and they have an innate ability to blow past any defender and score at the rim, or dish out a pass to an open teammate after drawing the defense in. Surround a player like that with shooters and threats inside and you have a dangerous combination for opposing teams.

If there’s one thing going against the Hawks right now it’s injuries. The team is already without De’Andre Hunter with a torn meniscus, and now the team’s third-leading scorer Bogdan Bogdanović has been limited the last two games with a knee issue.

It won’t be easy facing a Bucks team with a tough perimeter and interior defense, but the Hawks have enough weapons to outscore a Milwaukee team who barely escaped an injury-ravaged Nets team.

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