Its quite early to be discussing any form of NBA power rankings given that we are still a ways away from training camps getting underway. With that said, Chris Sheridan of Sheridanhoops brings us his September rankings where we find the Hawks in the middle of the pack. Sheridan places them at No. 18 out of 30 teams in the NBA and behind teams like Milwaukee (No. 17), Minnesota (No. 14) and Utah (No. 13).
On the Hawks Sheridan writes:
Here we will see a test of the addition-by-subtraction theory. If Anthony Morrow can be as efficient an offensive player as Joe Johnson was three years ago (JJ dropped precipitously in 2 years since signing his max contract) and they can get Al Horford into the "Best Center in the East" debate, they are intriguing at the very least.
Is this Hawks team that bad? Is losing Joe Johnson who nearly all of the mainstream media pointed to as the Hawks' problem now the reason they are middle of the pack? I don't get it. Granted one of the things that has worked in Atlanta's favor in the regular season has been continuity. The core group had been together for sometime and that often put them ahead of teams that made wholesale changes during the offseason. They will no longer have that benefit.
What they do have however is an All-Star in Al Horford that is returning to the lineup combined with Josh Smith who should have been an All-Star coming off his best season. Add another year of experience to Jeff Teague and this team still has a strong core. Say what you want about some of the Hawks new additions but they all can shoot and SB Nation's Tom Ziller has spent the last two days describing the importance of that attribute.
Sure there is a concern of how this team will survive with an undersized backcourt and very few options at the small forward position but they may not be finished creating the roster. Its not a championship team by any means but neither was last year's team or any of the others during the playoff run. This team however has financial flexibility going forward and isn't a finished product.
Exit Question: How much of a step back do you expect this Hawks team to take if any?