The Atlanta Hawks again earned more praise for their offseason by moving up five spots in ESPN.com's Future Power Rankings. The rankings take into account all aspects of an organization from the players to management to the market. Atlanta ranked No 18 last August.
ESPN.com's Amin Elhassan on the Hawks:
Going into free agency this past summer, the Hawks were one of several teams with large cap flexibility that had high hopes for giving the roster a drastic makeover. When they realized they wouldn't be able to do that, they retooled their roster using careful cap management, re-signing Kyle Korver to a descending scale contract, picking up veterans on short-term deals like Paul Millsap, Elton Brand and DeMarre Carroll and claiming FIBA Americas Tournament MVP Gustavo Ayon off waivers.
As a result, they'll have cap flexibility for the next two summers, which will allow them to be nimble enough to take advantage of any opportunities that might arise.
In the big picture, the Hawks' current collection of talent is still middling. (Other than Al Horford, there are no surefire stars on the roster, although rookies Dennis Schroeder and Lucas Nogueira each have a chance to be special.)
Their market will always have a reputation of a lukewarm fan base, but they've put themselves in the position to be competitive within the Eastern Conference. The Hawks still have a bright future by being fiscally responsible and showing shrewd player evaluation.
After the top free agents of last summer decided to sign elsewhere, Atlanta could have panicked and overpaid for the next tier of players. A tactic that would have likely capped them out and prevented them from being active during the next two offseasons. Maintaining flexibility with the salary cap in today's game becomes more and more important as the new CBA rules take effect. Its been a long time since any national pundit praised the franchise for their player evaluation and good financial decisions.