A little over a week ago, the NBA announced the 2021-2022 regular season schedule, and sportsbooks quickly released projected win totals for each team. The over/under for the Atlanta Hawks was 46.5 wins. That's five more wins than 2020-2021, even though they are playing ten more games this season.
Enter Bill Simmons. The Book of Basketball author has remained omnipresent in the sports world for nearly two decades. His achievements are undeniable. The documentaries, websites, podcasts, and business deals he has been a part of have cemented his legacy as an all-timer. His informal style inspired a generation of bloggers and podcasters.
Unfortunately for Hawks fans, Simmons has made a habit of taking cheap shots at the team and its star player. Since 2018, The Ringer founder and CEO has bashed the Hawks for their part in the Luka Doncic trade. In the most recent episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, he said of the Hawks projected win total:
"Atlanta and Boston at 46.5, both of those seemed high to me. Now I know Atlanta was another; what were they, 30-11 down the stretch or whatever. But not having [Onyeka] Okongwu, he's out for most of the season, it looks like. And then you know they got a couple guys playing for new contracts potentially..."
This may seem like nitpicking. But Simmons has a long track record of questionable takes when it comes to the Hawks, more specifically on Trae Young. It's easy to find some of his old takes online, but here is a more recent example from March 2021. Last spring, as the Hawks (led by Young) became serious contenders, Simmons began back peddling. Luckily, Chuck Klosterman held his feet to the fire.
It seems like Simmons is back to doubting the Hawks. That gives them yet another reason to play with a chip on their shoulder again this season. You know what that means, another day, another opportunity.