Hawks proving you don’t have to tank to win in NBA

The Atlanta Hawks have found a novel marketing method to attract fans of all colors, creeds and national origins.

It’s called winning.

“Winning” actually shortchanges what Atlanta is doing. On Dec. 27 the Hawks lost to Milwaukee by 30 points at home. They have not lost since, with wins of nine points over the Clippers, eight over Portland, 31 over Washington, 21 over Toronto and eight over Chicago.

And before this 14-game win streak, Atlanta had won five straight, beating Cleveland, Houston and the Clippers.

This is quite a reversal from September, when owner Bruce Levenson reported that he had sent an e-mail lamenting the relative scarcity of white fans at Philips Arena.

He wanted more music that was palatable to a “40-year-old white guy,” and he said that he thought black fans had scared away whites. He went on to call that “racist garbage,” but he underestimated the readiness of all of us to speak frankly about such matters, and now he is selling the team.

Add general manager Danny Ferry’s unfortunate remark about Luol Deng, and there seemed little point in playing the season. They were 38-44 last season. Now they are 35-8.

The Hawks are holding their opponents to an NBA-low 96.3 points. They’re No. 4 in defensive field goal percentage, No. 3 in percentage of 3-pointers made.

Kyle Korver with percentages of 53.6 from the 3-point line, 51.5 overall and 92.2 from the foul line, is a big reason for that.

But mostly you notice the way Hawks players catapult themselves to get loose balls, or how they find each other for open shots.Through Tuesday, the Hawks had 1,090 assists on 1,592 field goals.

According to NBA protocol, this can’t happen unless you tear down your roster, take on expiring contracts, and hope to get free agents and lottery picks. You have to go from mediocre through real bad to get real good.

But there are only seven first-round picks on Atlanta’s roster, and Al Horford (No. 3) is the only pick higher than 15th who plays extensively. Korver and Paul Millsap were second-round choices.

Is anyone noticing? Well, last year the Hawks averaged 14,339 fans at home. This year they average 16,266. And their only color is loud.

Written by Nick Endress

Nick Endress

Nick the Quick Endress is an avid fan of basketball and hip hop, and a contributing writer with WJS since 2013. Nick has interviewed rappers, ballers, rapper ballers, and baller rappers on the site and continues to preach that the NBA should have a team in Europe. Maybe because Nick currently lives outside London where to them Football is actually played with your feet, can you believe this fatuousness?