Atlanta Hawks: Best, Worst, and Likely Paths to Finals

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Absolute Best Case Scenario

Let’s assume that the 60 win threshold is now common place in Atlanta Hawks culture. No, they’re not going to go on a 33-3 run during the middle part of the season to create clear separation from the rest of the pack, but 57 to 60 wins might stand as a high enough mark to get the top seed in the East.

So let’s say that Atlanta gets the Top Seed again. Awesome! That would mean that Cleveland is likely the 2nd Second, no worse than the 3rd Seed, and once again the Atlanta Hawks wouldn’t have to play LeBron James until at least the Eastern Conference Finals.

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Of the potential 8-Seeds, I like facing the Boston Celtics the best. Yes, they are well coached by Brad Stevens, but until the Celtics get an All-Star caliber player on their roster, they’ll be just an exciting team that’s happy to have made the playoffs and get the experience.

In the 2nd Round, Atlanta would draw the winner of the 4-5 series. Oddly enough, I’d prefer that it was Washington again. While HC Randy Wittman knows for some reason how to win road playoff games, I think losing Paul Pierce eliminates the Wizards’ X-Factor down the stretch. Though I’m a big fan of both PG John Wall and SG Bradley Beal, can we really trust SF Otto Porter, Jr. to make the leap to his star teammates’ level just yet?

As part of being the Top Seed in the East, you get to watch the 2-3 series beat up on each other before facing you. Let’s assume that the Mayor of Ames (who ironically left Ames, IA, again) new Chicago Bulls HC Fred Hoiberg can give Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and company enough lift to beat up on their Central rival Cleveland and make it to the ECF for the first time since Rose’s MVP season several years ago?

Atlanta would then beat Chicago to move on to the NBA Finals. The path as a one-seed would be #8 Boston, #4-5 Washington, #2-3 Chicago.

Next: Realistic Best Case Scenario