Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant are all household names across the country. Then you have your James Hardens, Dwight Howards, and Kyrie Irvings that are all known by an average sports fan. But what would happen if you asked people on the streets of New York if they could name starters on the Atlanta Hawks? Odds are that not many could. However, the Hawks just completed a 19-game win streak, including a National Basketball Association record 17-0 count in a single month.
This impressive streak did not happen overnight. This was almost an eight-year transformation of the Hawks, who were at one point the laughing stock of the NBA. In the 2007 Draft, the Hawks selected Al Horford, a center/power forward from the University of Florida. The Hawks community, albeit small at the time, had their fingers crossed that coach Mike Woodson had not made another terrible pick in the draft. In years prior, they passed on or traded a fair amount of great players like Deron Williams, Pau Gasol and Chris Paul. Luckily, Horford has proved to be the heart to an otherwise crippled franchise.
Since drafting Horford, the Hawks have been to the playoffs every year. Don’t let that stat fool you, though. Atlanta still had issues on and off the court including contract issues with Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Jamal Crawford and Josh Smith. During this span, the Hawks also have gone through three head coaches, but seem to have found their niche with Mike Bodenholzer at head coach and Danny Ferrey at general manager. Besides Horford, the team is completely different. The team is now led by all-stars Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap and Horford, while Kyle Korver has provided the best shot in the NBA thus far.
The Hawks have started a dynasty; hats off to the players and management for proving that you can win games as a team instead of as individuals. There are no stars wearing a Hawks uniform, but they are finding a way to win. The 19-game win streak was no accident. Look forward to some great seasons with this new, reconstructed roster.