Atlanta Hawks: nba FUTURES & BETTING ODDS
It is a little known fact that the Atlanta Hawks were known by four different names before settling in Atlanta in 1968. The franchise started briefly as the Buffalo Bisons before moving almost immediately to Moline, Illinois to become the Tri-Cities Blackhawks. In 1949 the franchise joined the NBA as one of the 17 original members, and while the team only went 29-35 they did qualify for the playoffs where they lost to the Anderson Packers, who would fold after the season.
After just one more season, in which they drafted but failed to sign Bob Cousy, the team packed up once again and moved to Milwaukee for the 1951-52 season. While the team never contended in Milwaukee, their best record was 2744, they did change the course of their franchise’s history by drafting Bob Pettit second overall in the 1954 NBA draft. Pettit was named Rookie of the Year in 1955 and by the time the team moved once again, this time to St. Louis, they had built a contender. In 1956, Pettit was named NBA MVP and the team won their first ever playoff series. In 1957, the Hawks defeated the Lakers en route to the NBA Finals, where they lost Game 7 to the Boston Celtics in double overtime. The Hawks would repay the favor in 1958, when they beat the Celtics in six games to claim their first, and still only, championship.
The Hawks would spend another decade in St. Louis, losing two more NBA Finals and only missing the playoffs one time. The team was sold in 1968 and the new owners moved the team to Atlanta, after they were unable to find a suitable arena situation in St. Louis. The Atlanta Hawks started their run as a very competitive team, making the playoffs in their first five seasons, but a bet on the Atlanta Hawks to make the NBA Finals would not have paid off, they bowed out to the Lakers (twice), Knicks, and Celtics (twice). The team slogged through the rest of the 1970’s, missing four straight postseasons as the Atlanta Hawks odds of contending decreased with every season.
Ted Turner would buy the franchise in 1977 and bring in Hubie Brown as head coach, improving the Atlanta Hawks odds of becoming an elite franchise. Brown would immediately pay dividends, being named Coach of the Year as he brought the team back to the playoffs, where a bet on the Atlanta Hawks would not pay off as they were swept by the Bullets. Hubie would eventually be fired during a slow start to the 1980-81 season, where Atlanta finished 31-51.
The Atlanta Hawks odds of returning to contention would get a huge boost in 1982 when they traded for recent draftee Dominique Wilkins, when the rookie refused to play for the Utah Jazz. The Hawks would make the playoffs seven times in eight seasons from 1982-89, but a bet on the Atlanta Hawks to even make the conference finals would not pay off as they were knocked out of the playoffs by the Bucks and Celtics a combined five times.
The 1990’s Atlanta Hawks odds would look different as the team drafted Stacey Augmon out of UNLV and then traded for Mookie Blaylock in 1992. The Atlanta Hawks odds looked particularly good in 1994 as the team. led by coach of the year Lenie Wilkins, went 57-25, and won a playoff series against the Heat, as fans started to bet on the Atlanta Hawks to make the NBA Finals, but they would ultimately be knocked out by the Pacers.
The highlight of the 1995 season was coach Lennie Wilkins breaking the all-time record for coaching wins, with 939, but the team’s nemesis the Indiana Pacers would sweep them in the playoffs. In the late 1990’s, the Atlanta Hawks odds would change as Dikembe Mutumbo would become Atlanta’s star attraction, winning back-to-back defensive player of the year awards.
The 2000’s would be a dark prior for the franchise, as a bet on the AtlantaHawks to have even one .500 season would not have paid off, the team never won more than 35 games from 2000 until 2008. Ironically, the Hawks followed up that streak with a ten season run of making the playoffs every season, on teams highlighted by Joe Johnson, Al Horford, and Mike Bibby. During that stretch the Hawks were knocked out in the first round 5 times, the conference semifinals four times, and they once made the Eastern conference finals, in 2015, only to be swept by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The time to bet on the Atlanta Hawks ended in 2017, as the team has entered the dark ages in recent seasons, failing to win even 30 games in 2018, 2019, or 2020. However, Trae Young emerged in 2020 and led the Hawks the following season to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021, falling in six games to the Milwaukee Bucks, but it still doesn't take away the fact that they jumped into the East's elite, which is a huge improvement over previous seasons.
Championships: 1 (1958 as the St. Louis Hawks)
9: Bob Pettit
21: Dominique Wilkins
23: Lou Hudson
44: Pete Maravich
55: Dikembe Mutumbo
59: Kasim Reed (former Atlanta mayor)