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

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Sep 28, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague (0) and center Al Horford (15) and forward Paul Millsap (4) pose for a photo during media day at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Most Likely Scenario

I project the 2015-16 Atlanta Hawks to win 55 to 57 games this year, win the Southeast Division again, and finish three games back of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Top Seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Hawks first round matchup will be a young Milwaukee Bucks team that spent much of the offseason learning how to shoot and not enough focus on defense. The Bucks finish with 44 wins but drop a seed in the East. Atlanta handles the Bucks in 6 games.

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Atlanta would get the #3-Seeded Chicago Bulls in Round Two. Fred Hoiberg injects life into a broken down Bulls team, as many project the Bulls to play the Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference Finals. However, the Bulls finally run out of energy in Game Four of the series and Atlanta wins it in six games, despite being down 2-1 initially.

Naturally, the Atlanta Hawks will have to play the Cleveland Cavaliers again in the Eastern Conference Finals, only this time the seeds are the opposite from last year, with Atlanta as the clear underdog in this matchup. Atlanta would have to steal either Game 1, 2, or 5 on the road at the Q to win this series. It would have to go seven for Atlanta to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals.

Next: Atlanta Hawks: Can Team Win Title Without Superstar?

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