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Taking an early look at the five stat benchmarks for the Hawks and the third seed.

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Back in September, we looked at five numbers the Hawks needed to meet to contend for the third seed. Eleven games in, consider the team contending. So lets look back at those benchmarks.

20x2: That was two players with a 20 PER or higher. I assumed Joe Johnson and Josh Smith were the most likely candidates since they had been the closest in previous years. Well, Al Horford says shame on me. He stands at 20.15 in this young season. Josh Smith, as we all know, now hates "bad Josh" and therefore, he has a PER of 25.24 which is good for tenth in the league. Joe Johnson sits just outside the threshold at 19.71. Basically, the Hawks starting front court is good. Really, really good.

14x10: Al Horford staying consistent on the glass and picking up a few extra buckets a game on offense. So far, he is a half point off at 13.5 points and 10.2 boards.

3.06: Mike Bibby was eighth in the league in assist to turnover ratio last year at 3.06. The low turnover rate for the team helped fuel their success. Could Bibby match this number in another season? Well, through eleven games, Mike is exactly 3.06 assists per turnover. I will just assume he read the last post.

15: Atlanta needed to move from bad to at least average in rebounding. Say 23rd in the league to 15th. As of now, the Hawks are 10th, and one could argue they have won three games (Celtics and both Blazer games) because of their rebounding. Kind of nice.

41.6%: That was Jamal Crawford's career best field goal percentage, and it happened the one season he played mostly as a sixth man. Possibly the early season stat that could fluctuate the most, but right now, Crawford is shooting 45.6%.

So with all five benchmarks at least within reach, which one do you think is most important to keep up? Have another one we should add? I know it sounds weird, but it really might be all about ball bearings numbers these days.

Go Hawks!