We all know by now that Trae Young is Atlanta’s backup point guard and the team’s second-best player, but the Hawks are hoping the former Oklahoma Sooners sensation can take over the reigns during the postseason. Young is at his best when he’s playing with control and being aggressive, which makes him the perfect fit for Atlanta’s offense. The Hawks can spread the floor with three perimeter players and give players like Young the room to operate by using the screen-and-roll action.

The Atlanta Hawks have won 14 of their last 16 games, which includes a 6-game win streak. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Thunder have won three of their last four games, which includes a pair of wins against the Los Angeles Lakers. Although the Hawks’ record is better, they have played the Thunder tough in both of these games, especially the second meeting in Oklahoma City. Trae Young has been on fire in this stretch, posting a PER of 22.8, 1.3 above his career average. He’s averaging a career-high 30.5 PPG and has a career-low turnover rate of 11.9. In addition, he’s keeping the Hawks in games with his well-rounded game, which includes 10.5

I remember Trae Young as a freshman at Oklahoma, when he was an absolute firecracker. He was the most exciting player in the nation, and the entire nation was watching his every move. For much of that time, he was the primary reason the Sooners were a national title contender. Since then, the Hawks have done absolutely nothing to help him succeed, and it’s finally starting to come to a head. Young is the only player in the NBA with a player efficiency rating (PER) of 33 or higher, which is the highest in the league since the birth of the stat (since 1973-74). Unfortunately, he’s on a team that is terrible at basketball. The Hawks have the worst offensive efficiency in the NBA, and. Read more about when is the nba championship and let us know what you think.

The Atlanta Hawks suffered a rare loss against the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Hawks are only the sixth No. 5 to advance to the conference finals since the NBA expanded the playoffs to 10 teams in 1974-75.

Ranked fifth in the East, Atlanta has already won two series it shouldn’t have. At least, depending on the medium. A No. 5 victory in the first round is not that unusual; the No. 4 vs. No. 5 match is mathematically considered the closest series in this round. But it gets harder in the semifinals. After all, the top teams are there for a reason.

What the Hawks have already done is rare. What they can still achieve is unprecedented.

Conference finals that end in fifth place are very rare


The 2021 NBA playoffs will be the 47th. Be a year where there are at least five teams in each conference. That’s 94 conference final series and 188 conference finalists.

So being in the final four of the NBA is already quite an accomplishment for a team coming from fifth place in the standings. As previously mentioned, the Atlanta Hawks are only the sixth team to do so. Only one of these six participants chose the easiest route, namely directly through number 1.

In 1994, two teams ranked number 5 reached the final. Coincidentally, the Indiana Pacers have beaten the Hawks, who are on top, in six games. But in the Western Conference, the Utah Jazz took an easier road. Utah beat the eighth-seeded Denver Nuggets earlier this year. This is the first time in NBA history that a number 8 has beaten the number 1 in the first round.

The first team to do so was the Kansas City Kings in 1981, who beat the top-ranked Phoenix Suns to advance to the first (and still only) conference final between the No. 5 and No. 6 teams. They lost to the sixth-seeded Houston Rockets, completing the NBA’s only reverse bracket (a lower-seeded team destroyed all higher-seeded teams).

There are others among them who have accomplished this feat:

  • Phoenix Suns, 1990 (loss against #3 Portland Trail Blazers).
  • Memphis Grizzlies, 2013 (loss against #2 San Antonio Spurs).
  • Miami Heat, 2020 (vs. Boston Celtics #3).

Yes, the Hawks’ win over the #3 seed, the Milwaukee Bucks, puts the #5 seed in the NBA Finals for the second straight year (and second time in history).

Atlanta Hawks become the first team to be ranked #5 to win the NBA title

Tra Young of the Atlanta Hawks celebrates after the defeat against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. | Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

In the 2020 Florida playoffs, the NBA Finals did not end well for the Heat. They lost in five games to the Los Angeles Lakers.

However, this opens the door for the Atlanta Hawks to become the first fifth-ranked team to win an NBA championship.

Unlike Miami last year, the Hawks won’t have to deal with another No. 1 seed if they win the East. The Utah Jazz were edged out by the Los Angeles Clippers in the Conference semifinals, leaving the Suns as the highest seed in the postseason (Phoenix is #2).

It’s no surprise that in the NBA playoffs, the highest seeded


Again, based on 1975 playoff data, at least one of the top four seeds (the top two in each conference) made all but one NBA Finals. The only exception was the meeting of the third-placed teams in the 1978 final. In this series, the Washington Bullets defeated the Seattle Supersonics.

Not surprisingly, since 1975, the most common game in the NBA Finals has been the one with the chalk – No. 1 vs. That was the case in 13 NBA Finals and the 12 duals between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams that followed.

Here are the other games:

  • No. 1 against no. 3, eight times.
  • No. 2 against no. 2, three times.
  • Number one against number six, twice.
  • No. 2 against No. 3, twice.
  • Number 2 against number 4, twice.
  • Number one against number four, once.
  • Number one against number five, once.
  • Number one against number eight, once.

It’s worth noting that for the first time in a long time, someone will reach the NBA Finals. The last time the Suns made it to the finals this year was in 1993. Milwaukee hasn’t made the finals since 1974. The Atlanta Hawks? They weren’t even in Atlanta the last time they played for a championship. They were still the St. Louis Hawks when they lost to the Celtics in 1961.

And not to jinx it, the Clippers are new to the conference finals, not to mention the big series at the end.

Historical data provided by Basketball Reference.

COMPARED TO: When can Trae Young leave the Atlanta Hawks?

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