#3 Team Chemistry
The youthful Atlanta Hawks team was highly successful because every player played as per the needs of the team, especially Trae Young and John Collins. Both players made necessary changes to their games to help their team enjoy a successful season.
Initially, with a lack of shooters around him, Trae Young used to take most of the shots himself. However, after the addition of Bogdanovic and Gallinari, and the emergence of Huerter, Young leaned more into his playmaking skills.
Young attempted three shots fewer than he did last season and averaged a career-best 9.4 assists per game during the 2020-21 regular season. That helped the Atlanta Hawks become a well-rounded team at the offensive end.
Meanwhile, John Collins shifted his focus into being an all-around player for the team. His shot attempts and points per game were significantly less than in the 2019-20 campaign, as the team had better shooters, who needed to be more involved to make the Atlanta Hawks function better as a team.
Nevertheles, Collins contributed at both ends of the floor and took up the scoring responsibilities as well. All the other players performed their roles in the team, which made the Atlanta Hawks look more complete and well-rounded, which was a key reason for their success this season.
#2 Trae Young's rise
From being a good player to a great one, Trae Young stepped up big time for the Atlanta Hawks. He led the team from the front in every game and played with tremendous confidence in his debut postseason campaign.
His ability to deliver big performances on the road during the playoffs, despite the hostile reception he received, set the tone for the Hawks to make a deep run. He averaged 28.8 points and 9.8 assists per game during the postseason.
Young's rise as a leader is crucial for the Atlanta Hawks, as he could help them become regular playoff contenders in the future.
#1 Nate McMillan's hiring
Nate McMillan's hiring proved to be pivotal for the Atlanta Hawks and was a major reason behind their terrific 2020-21 NBA campaign. He took over the reins from Lloyd Pierce when the team seemed to be heading towards yet another disappointing campaign, making a 14-20 start.
Since then, McMillian lifted the Atlanta Hawks to a 27-11 record in the regular season, the third-best by any team in that period. Every player in the team thrived under McMillan. He helped them figure out their strengths and use them to their potential to achieve positive results for the team.
The Hawks haven't announced anything about McMillan being offered a full-time job yet. But it seems like they will eventually appoint him as their permanent head coach.
He also has the support of leading players like Trae Young, which makes it very likely that he would be at the Hawks' helm at the start of next season.