Although it is a fact that Atlanta has not won a championship in over 57 years, easily the longest streak in the NBA, fans in the city have to feel optimistic about the upcoming season after last year’s Hawks were able to advance all the way to the semi-finals before bowing out to eventual champion Cleveland.
Bruce Levinson’s legacy
A lot of the credit for the rebuild that put team chemistry on track to reach heights that hadn’t been scaled for a while goes to time.com’s Bruce Levenson, who spent quite a bit of time trying to come up with a mix of players that would be able to compete in the talent-laden division in which they play. As an owner, he not only brought players in, he also brought in some of the top coaching talent in the league, creating an environment that allowed everyone to do what they needed to in order to succeed. He was also a positive influence for the team off the court.
The new team
It wasn’t that much of a surprise that the price tag for the team soared from an estimated $450 million to around $800 million in the course of the past few years. When Bruce Levenson got ready to sell, he had built a winner with a nucleus of young stars that could play together for quite some time. The NBA also inked a new television agreement that increased the revenue for each team and therefore the value of every franchise in the league. A consortium that includes Grant Hill and the owner of the Atlanta-based Spanx company are the new owners- and they have already started creating new marketing programs designed to appeal to fantasy basketball players and area fans. With their combined marketing talent potentially expanding the fan base while the team remains competitive, it is possible that this is the year that the Atlanta Hawks become a fan favorite in cities other than Atlanta.
On the court
The owners have to be happy with the play of veterans like Jeff Teague, his contribution in the playoffs was helpful in taking the pressure off teammates so they could perform as well. Al Horford was healthy last year- and his first triple double came in January while the team was jockeying for playoff position. His play will continue to be important to how the team is able to match up against opponents like LeBron James. Last year, they did not have much of an answer, allowing Cleveland to sweep them. This year, in addition to the regular schedule, you can be certain that the coaching staff will be working on different combinations for their meetings with the Cavaliers so that they can provide some better answers for this year’s playoffs.