Well, the Hawks are sitting a top the eastern conference at the one seed, 7.5 games ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers. They maintain the 2nd best win percentage in the NBA (Only behind the Golden State Warriors), and people are amazed by their spectacular ball movement and team play.
Not only do they play together, but they can score in a number of ways. The Hawks score in the three basic ways: Shoot, Drive, Post Up. They are 2nd in the NBA in 3 point percentage, Jeff Teague is a great attacker, and Millsap/Horford both can post up with the best in the NBA.
On defense, the Hawks are 8th in opponents points per game, 5th in steals, and 14th in blocks. The quote, "Defense Wins Championships" is entirely old, and in this day and age, a team merely needs a top 10 defense. The Hawks hold a very good defense, and look good on both ends on the court.
Well, I got some news for Hawks fans:
They're massively overrated.
The Hawks have great team play, and very good defense, but the problem remains: "Who is their Hall of Famer who will take over in the closing moments of playoff games?" The Regular Season and Post-Season are two completely different specimens, especially in the final minutes of games. Within the post-season, teams actually play their toughest defense and let up no easy shots. Is Jeff Teague 6'2 180 LBS going to take over? Is he going to power his way through the defense and finish off playoff games? Is Al Horford, who is averaging 15 points per game going to take over games? Or is Paul Millsap going to lead them to victory?
Jeff Teague, Al Horford, and Paul Millsap are all great players, but no where near superstar/Hall of Fame caliber. In 7 out of the past 10 years, the NBA Finals Champion has had Lebron, Kobe, or Tim Duncan on their roster. The other three had Dwyane Wade/Shaq, Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett, and Dirk Nowitzki. All of whom are all future Hall of Fame players. In the years before 2005, Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, and Shaq/Kobe won 9 of the 10 Championships.
The fact is: Every Championship Team needs a Hall of Fame player ready to take over games at will. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm pretty sure Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford are no where being in the same category as Duncan, Jordan, Shaq, Kobe, and Hakeem. No where close.
Finally, people keep pointing out: "Oh! These Hawks are the Spurs of the East!" Well you know what the Spurs have in the west? Tim Duncan: The Greatest Power Forward in the History of the NBA. The Hawks have Paul Millsap, who is not even one of the best power forwards in the NBA. The Spurs have Tim Duncan, in the first two Championships, David Robinson. There's a huge difference between Duncan and Robinson and Horford and Millsap.
Overall, this is the National Basketball Association. In the NBA, it's a players league: Talent and Hall of Fame players win Championships. Maybe the Hawks style of play could work in the NCAA, where coaches and team play is more powerful than talent (How Many NCAA Champions have had Kobe, Lebron, Duncan, Dwyane Wade, Shaq, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Michael Jordan on their roster? One. Not to mention, there's a reason Lebron and Kobe skipped college to go to the NBA: 1. Money 2. Their talent could be used to 10x greater strength). I don't see a first round upset, and maybe not even a 2nd round loss. However, I, in no way what-so-ever, see them winning a Championship (Eastern Conference Champions or NBA Finals Champion). History has proven: NBA Champions need Hall of Fame talent.