What will define a ‘successful’ season for the Atlanta Hawks?

Monday night, the Atlanta Hawks lost for the first time in 2015, a 115-100 defeat at the hands of Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans. It marked the end of a 19-game winning streak for the Hawks, who now own a seven-game lead over the Toronto Raptors for first in the Eastern Conference. (Compare that to the Western Conference, where the sixth-place Dallas Mavericks are 6-1/2 games behind the first-place Golden State Warriors.)

Now 40-9, the Hawks have gone from a preseason longshot to win the NBA championship to one of the league’s favorites – according to vegasinsider.com, Atlanta is 13/2 to win the title, behind only the Warriors (7/2) and Cleveland Cavaliers (4/1).

“Championship or bust” might be the wrong way to judge this Hawks team, though. After all, Atlanta hasn’t made it past the Eastern Conference semifinals in 35 years, and is coming of a 38-44 2013-14 season that ended in the first round of the playoffs. So how should the Hawks judge “success” at season’s end? SiriusXM NBA Radio’s Stacey King took a stab at answering the question following Atlanta’s loss to the Pelicans.

“They gotta get to the Eastern Conference finals, in my opinion, for it to be a successful season. Because this is a team that, over the last few years, has always been a team that made it to the first or second round,” King said. “With the way they play, to put in perspective how well this team has played, going back to Dec. 26 they were 21-8 and they were one game back of first place. Now they’re up seven.”

Do you agree with King? Do the Hawks need to make it to the Eastern Conference finals for 2014-15 to be a “successful” run? Tweet your thoughts @SiriusXMNBA.

For a free 30-day trial, check out siriusxm.com/fbtrial.

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