The Atlanta Hawks got off the ground at the start of last season, but they were brought down to earth by a key injury. If this team can stay healthy, though, it might be able to accomplish more this season and go over the set total on the NBA odds.
2014-15 Regular Season Total: 41.5
Why The Hawks Will Go Over The Number
The Hawks won only 38 games last year, but that was with their best player starting only 29 games. Al Horford, a great power forward who has established himself in the league, averaged 18.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per games when he played, and Atlanta was a top-three team in the Eastern Conference as long as Horford was on the court. However, when Horford went down, the Hawks did as well. Without a low-post force to anchor their offense and give the team structure. Without Horford, Atlanta devolved into a team with an offense that was basically little more than spreading out a bunch of guards and wings and having them shoot from the perimeter. Horford has a good medium-range jump shot, but he could at least score with his back to the basket, and Atlanta’s other players didn’t have that ability. If you put Horford on the floor for 70 or more games this season, Atlanta’s going to have the capacity to do so many more things with its offense, and when you simply consider the possibility that Horford will be able to carry his scoring and rebounding averages over 70 games instead of 29, that’s a lot of extra production the Hawks can count on. When you then realize that a Horford-less Hawks team still came very close to eliminating a good Indiana Pacer team in the first round of the playoffs, it becomes apparent that this team learned how to play without Horford. Atlanta should be able to improve on many levels this season.
Why The Hawks Will Stay Under The Number
Why the Hawks could stay under the number is that the Eastern Conference could very well be a lot better this season than it was last season. Cleveland, a team that wasn’t in the playoffs last season, will be great this season. The New York Knicks could be better than they were a year ago. The Detroit Pistons are very likely to be better this season under new coach Stan Van Gundy. The Indiana Pacers won’t be a great team, but they’re still going to be a playoff contender. The Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets, Brooklyn Nets, and Toronto Raptors should all return to the playoffs. Then, the Chicago Bulls could become a great team if Derrick Rose is able to stay healthy. This is going to raise the bar for the Hawks and other teams in the East. What might have been wins last year will not become wins this year.
Atlanta also has a lot of weaknesses to deal with. Last season, the team was 24th in the league in turnovers and 26th in blocked shots. The Hawks were next to last in the league, 29th, in offensive rebounds, 27th in two-point field goals made and attempted, and on defense, they were 24th in assists allowed, which meant that their defense was slow in rotating to open shooters and also bad at defending the pick and roll. There’s so much for this team to clean up, and it might not be up to the task.
Ultimately, the presence of Horford should make this a 45-win team. Atlanta should have a decent season, so go over with your NBA picks.
NBA Pick: Over 41.5 at 5Dimes