The Atlanta Hawks had a surprising run in the NBA Playoffs in 2020-21, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals after three years of missing out.
The Hawks were 14-20 at one point during the 2020-21 season, but rallied to finish sixth with a 41-31 record. They improved significantly after the All-Star break, virtually securing home-court advantage in the playoffs.
Despite opening all three rounds of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on the road, the Atlanta Hawks defeated the New York Knicks (4-1) in round one and the Philadelphia 76ers (4-3) in round two, winning both of their road closeout games.
In 2020-21, the Atlanta Hawks made an unexpected run in the NBA Playoffs, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals after a three-year absence.
During the 2020-21 season, the Hawks were 14-20 at one point, but rallied to finish sixth with a 41-31 record. After the All-Star break, they improved substantially, essentially ensuring home-court advantage in the playoffs.
Despite playing in all three rounds of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on the road, the Atlanta Hawks won both of their road closeout games, defeating the New York Knicks (4-1) in round one and the Philadelphia 76ers (4-3) in round two.
The Hawks surprised everyone this season:— SB Nation (@SBNation) July 4, 2021
• started 14-20
• went 37-19 under Nate McMillan
• playoff Trae was legendary
• he had multiple 30-pt games at MSG
• upset the Knicks
• upset the 76ers
• made the Conference Finals without an All-Star
This is only the beginning pic.twitter.com/B6r0wnJthM
5 Role players begin to emerge
The Atlanta Hawks received help from all over the place. They dealt with many injuries to important players such as John Collins, DeAndre Hunter, and Cam Reddish throughout the season, but were able to overcome them because to key contributions from role players.
Despite the fact that nine of their players averaged over ten points per game during the regular season, they still advanced to the NBA Playoffs. Kevin Huerter, Danillo Gallinari, and Lou Williams were huge contributors to the squad, delivering when needed, especially during the playoffs.
Cam Reddish missed the most of the season due to injury. He only played four games in the NBA Playoffs, but he was great when he returned. During that time, he averaged 12.8 points per game while shooting 50% from the field, giving the Hawks a major lift for next season as he gets back into shape.
"I see a lot of Paul George in Cam."— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) July 4, 2021
– Nate McMillan on Cam Reddish pic.twitter.com/t3azerXK5o
4 The Atlanta Hawks’ $160 million in free agency expenditures in 2020 paid off.
During the 2020 NBA off-season, the Atlanta Hawks were quite active. They were eager to improve their squad and surround Trae Young, Clint Capela, and John Collins with more talent after missing the playoffs for three seasons. In free agency, they signed players like Bogdan Bogdanovic, Rajon Rondo, and Solomon Hill, which turned out to be a wise option for the team.
Bogdanovic developed into one of the team’s most valuable players and a lethal shooting weapon on the offensive end, relieving Trae Young of a significant amount of pressure. During the regular season, he averaged 16.4 points (a career high), 3.6 assists, and 3.4 rebounds. He also shot a career-high 43 percent from outside the arc, making at least three long-range shots on seven tries per game.
Bogdanovic continued to impress in the playoffs, scoring 14.1 points per game. He also set a career high with 28 points in Game 5 against the Milwaukee Bucks, connecting on 7 of 16 three-point attempts.
The Hawks, on the other hand, did not get to see ‘Playoff Rondo’ in the postseason. Rajon Rondo was moved to the Los Angeles Clippers in the middle of the season. Despite this, they were able to obtain a crucial veteran in the form of Lou Williams, who was excellent for the team. In the regular season, he averaged ten points per game, and in the playoffs, he averaged eight points per game in 15 minutes of playing time per game.
Given the Atlanta Hawks’ deep playoff run, it’s safe to say that the Hawks’ free agency additions were top-notch, and the money spent was well spent.