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ESPN Predicts #2 Seed for the Atlanta Hawks

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The paradigm of the Atlanta Hawks coming in under the radar since the deal of Joe Johnson is crumbling fast. ESPN the Magazine joins the chorus of Bird Believers in their NBA Preview predictions.

Josh D. Weiss-US PRESSWIRE

Grantland's Zach Lowe, Bill Simmons himself, Basketball Prospectus and even John Hollinger have all predicted better thank you would expect things from the Atlanta Hawks for the 2012-2013 season.

Not bad for a team that dealt a six-time all-star and noted end-of-game finisher and a franchise that's supposed to be, even at its euphemistic best, in transition.

ESPN the Magazine joins the BP team in listing the Hawks as a #2 seed in the East. Number two!

2. Atlanta Hawks | Southeast: 2nd

Conventional Wisdom Sure, by trading six-time All-Star Joe Johnson, new GM Danny Ferry tidied up the cap and readied the Hawks for a down-the-road free agent spree. Short term, though, the team has taken a big step back.

Actual wisdom Salary dump? What salary dump? Atlanta inked a cheaper high-scoring playmaker in Lou Williams. He and Jeff Teague will stay busy finding new hires Kyle Korver andAnthony Morrow on the perimeter and Smith and a fully healed Al Horford (career 18.1 PER) in transition. All of those producers mean more points for the Hawks than their opponents -- and what some folks might consider a surprisingly high seed in the postseason. -- John Hollinger

Basketball Prospectus predictions
Projected record: 50.5-31.5
If Horford plays 82 games: 52-30 (2-seed)
If Horford plays 11 games: 43-39 (8-seed)

I don't know what else to say. I may begin to hide under the proverbial desk if more glowing reviews come in from around the league about the good guys. After all, with all this love up front, what's left when the season starts except....heartbreak?