Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

New consensus on the Hawks - good, but not as good

Well, they do have new uniforms. (Brant Sanderlin/AJC photo)

The 2014-2015 Atlanta Hawks won 60 games and reached the Eastern Conference finals, somewhere this franchise had never been. It didn't end well, but it was, in the main, a stirring season. The forecast for 2015-2016? Less stirring.

Last week the data-driven site FiveThirtyEight offered its preview. (It was written by Neil Paine, who once worked for the Hawks.) The headline says it all: "The Hawks Will Be Mostly The Same, But Worse." Paine's numbers project the Hawks to go 45-37, which would be a 15-game regression.

On Tuesday, offered its annual survey of the league's general managers . The Hawks were picked third in the Eastern Conference behind Cleveland and Chicago. (It must be noted that, a year ago, the Hawks were picked third -- in the Southeast Division .) The sentiment again being: Still good, but not as good.

I'd love to offer a home-cooked rebuttal to those lesser projections, but in all honesty I can't. I don't think they'll be as good, either. I think they'll miss DeMarre Carroll and Danny Ferry. I think the once-in-a-lifetime blend of last season will prove just that -- a one-time thing. I'd guess they'll win 50 games, not 60. But I've been wrong before, too.

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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.