Mark Bradley

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

An oddsmaker offers a mighty dim appraisal of next year's Hawks

Having won the NBA title in 2015 and now 2017, the Golden State Warriors are favored by Bovada to win it again in 2018. Big shock there. The Cleveland Cavaliers -- bigger shock -- are listed as second favorites. The Atlanta Hawks are 24th-favorites. Think about that.

The Hawks have made the playoffs in each of past years, something no other NBA East franchise can say. They've had a winning record every season since 2008-2009. They won 60 games in 2014-2015. They won a playoff series last season. They were the fifth seed in the East this time. And yet ...

Their odds of winning it all in June 2018 are, per Bovada, 200 to 1. By way of comparison, the Philadelphia 76ers -- who've won an aggregate 75 games over four seasons; the Warriors won 73 last season alone -- are listed at 100 to 1. The six teams given longer odds than the Hawks: Charlotte, Detroit, Brooklyn, Orlando, Phoenix and Sacramento.

Betting lines are no guarantee of future results. This we know. But I'd suggest this particular line is a reflection of where this particular oddsmaker believes the Hawks are headed, and it's not straight up. To reiterate: If they keep Paul Millsap, they'll have spent a ton of money to stay mediocre ; if they don't, even mediocrity might be beyond their reach.

As we also know, the Hawks have a new general manager, Travis Schlenk having just arrived from Golden State. He has, to put it mildly, work to do.

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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.