As good as things have been, there are warning signs that suggest that this Hawks team will not get their NBA championship this year. Thus far the team has displayed a delicate balance in which selfless teamwork and a carefully crafted rotation of starters and bench players has proven very effective. Anything that upsets that balance can be difficult to handle. Here are some factors that will come into play as the Hawks wind down the regular season and prepare for the playoffs:
1. Major Distractions: The Atlanta Hawks do not do well when distracted. They started the 2014-2015 season poorly with a 5-5 record following the Danny Ferry scandal and suspension.
This week the arrests of Hawks players, Thabo Sefolosha and Pero Antic, during a New York nightclub incident in which NBA player Chris Copeland was stabbed are looming as a huge distraction as the regular season ends and the NBA playoffs begin. The Atlanta players were arrested for disorderly conduct, obstruction, and resisting arrest in the early morning hours at a popular nightspot in Manhattan.
Sefolosha is important to the Hawks' substitution patterns. He has the highest defensive rating on the team. His loss to the rotation will be felt throughout the playoffs, however long the Hawks remain in contention. He was a huge contributor to the November through January win streak.
3. Timing and Momentum: The Hawks may have peaked too soon. Their impressive 19 game winning streak ended in January. They are 5-5 in their last 10 games.
These disturbing trends do not look good for the Atlanta Hawks. Let's hope I am wrong.