With a 31-23 record the Atlanta Hawks are hovering just outside the Top 10 in the latest edition of the SB Nation NBA Power Rankings. Atlanta is the fifth best team according to the rankings trailing Chicago (2), Miami (5), Boston (7) and Indiana (10).
The Hawks drop five spots this week in Marc Stein's latest ESPN.com NBA Power Rankings all the way down to No. 12.
The committee happened to be watching SportsCenter on Wednesday night when our man Scott Van Pelt, watching Atlanta absorb a beatdown at home from the Rose-less Bulls, opined that the Hawks are quite an "odd team" that's really good when they're good and really bad when they're bad. Pretty much sums it up.
NBA.com ranks the Hawks at No. 11 sliding three spots down from last week's No. 8 position. John Schuhmann points out that while the Hawks are endanger of sliding to the seventh spot in the East their remaining schedule is much easier than both the Sixers and the Knicks.
Pace: 92.1 (24), Off: 100.4 (19), Def: 98.6 (6)
The Hawks have suffered some defensive slippage and now could be in danger of slipping into seventh place in the East. But they have an easier schedule than both the Sixers and Knicks, including two games each against the Pistons, Raptors and Bobcats. Both Charlotte games are this week.
Atlanta's remaining schedule is point of emphasis for Chris Sheridan as he places the Hawks at No. 11 but figures they will move up as the season enters its final days thanks to the team's favorable schedule.
LAST WEEK: 2-3 THIS WEEK: 3 games KEY GAME: SAT at CHA
Get ready to see them climb. Of next 8 games, two apiece against Bobcats, Pistons and Raptors. So it is not out of the question that they catch Orlando and jump all the way to the No. 3 seed. If that happens, there should be a groundswell of support for Larry Drew to finish runner-up to Thibs for COY. But final four are Celtics, Knicks, Clippers and Mavs.