Atlanta Hawks: NBA Season News and Team History
Atlanta Hawks History and Highlights
The Atlanta Hawks are playing in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference in the NBA. They play their home games at State Farm Arena. As of 2022, the Atlanta Hawks have the second-longest drought of not winning an NBA championship at 64 seasons.
Founding and Only NBA Championship
The team was founded in 1946 as Buffalo Bisons in NBL. They joined the NBA in 1949, and two years later, the team moved to Milwaukee, where they changed the team name to Hawks. Red Auerbach coached the Hawks in the 1949-50 season before moving to Boston to become a real NBA legend. The Hawks also drafted Bob Cousy with the third pick in the 1950 NBA Draft.
Move to St. Louis
In 1955, the team moved to St. Louis, and drafted Bob Petit, who would become the first household name for the Hawks and spend his entire NBA career with them. However, the epic mistakes from the past didn’t stop there.
The following year, in 1956, the Hawks drafted Bill Russell with the second overall pick but traded him almost immediately. Russell would then go on to become one of the best point guards of all time.
First and Only NBA Championship
The first success for the Hawks came in 1957 when they made it to the NBA Finals, losing to the Boston Celtics in a double-overtime Game 7 despite having a losing record in the regular season.
The following season, the Hawks had their first winning record in a regular season and went back to the finals, this time to defeat the Celtics 4-2 and win their only NBA championship to this day. Bob Petit scored 50 points in the last game of that series.
Move to Atlanta
After issues with the Arena and the St. Louis administration, the team was sold and moved to Atlanta.
In the years following its NBA Championship win, the now Atlanta Hawks remained one of the best teams in the league. However, while the team had a couple of good years into the early part of the 1970s, with Pete Maravich leading the way, they could not add another championship banner and performance started to decline.
1982: Dominique Wilkins Joins the Hawks
In 1982, after a decade of failures, the Atlanta Hawks acquired Dominique Wilkins. Wilkins would become the leading scorer in the franchise history over the next 12 years, although he could not lead the team to the NBA championship.
Wilkins had his peak in the second half of the 1980’s leading the Hawks to 4 consecutive 50+ wins seasons. However, the team could not advance past the semifinals of the Eastern Conference playoffs, losing to the Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons.
Wilkins left the Hawks in 1992, and the team turned to rebuild mode. They acquired Mookie Blaylock in 1992 and later acquired Christian Laettner from the Minnesota Timberwolves, who was a member of the Dream Team. Dikembe Mutombo from the Denver Nuggets and Steve Smith from the Miami Heat were also brought in.
With this lineup, the Hawks looked like a contender in the late 1990s. However, against all hopes, they were one big step behind the best teams in the Eastern Conference at the time and didn’t make any significant Playoff success.
The Modern Era
The beginning of the 2000s were tough for the Atlanta Hawks until they traded for Joe Johnson from the Phoenix Suns. The sharp-shooter became the leader of the new Hawks, which also featured Al Horford, Kyle Korver, and Jeff Teague. In 2015, all four of them made the All-Star team.
10 Consecutive Playoffs and First Final in 48 Years
In 2015, the Atlanta Hawks made it to the conference final for the first time after 48 years and later became one of only four NBA teams that have qualified to play in the NBA playoffs in 10 consecutive seasons in the 21st century. They achieved this feat between 2008 and 2017.
In 2018, the Atlanta Hawks drafted Luka Doncic with the third overall pick but decided to trade him for Trae Young. Young is the new leader of the team that managed to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021 where they lost to the Milwaukee Bucks.