The Atlanta Hawks set the bar high in 2015 with 60 wins while running away with the Eastern Conference regular season crown. What will the future hold in 2016? Here is what the Peachtree Hoops staff had to say about that.
How many games will the Hawks win this season? Where will they finish in the Eastern Conference Standings?
(Harry Lyles) I think the Hawks will win 53 games. They have stretches in their schedule where you'd think how could they get through this, or that they'd coast through another stretch, but the NBA is pretty weird in the regular season. Any team can win on any given night, but with that said, I think the Hawks win 53 games, and are happy with that. I don't think they can reasonably ask themselves to shoot the way they did and defend the way that they did at the same time like they did last season to win 60 games again, that was unreal, and awesome.
(Brad Rowland) I'm on record with a 53-29 projection, and I'm sticking by that. It is too aggressive to suggest that Atlanta repeats as the number one seed given the nature of Cleveland's current roster, but the Hawks have a live chance at the number two seed, and I can't see anything but 50+ wins barring serious injury issues. It helps to have a great coach and a deep and talented roster that already plays with cohesion.
(Kris Willis) If this team is healthy I think they are a safe bet to win 50+ games and to finish in the top half of the Eastern Conference Standings. I'm going with a record of 57-25 and a second place finish in the East Standings along with a second straight trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.
(Tyler Lewis) Last year was spectacular, and I think this team is capable of winning sixty-plus games. However, now that they've already gotten to sixty and made a statement, I see Budenholzer putting even more focus on rest and health. This team wants to be prepared for the postseason and make a run at a title as opposed to winning a ton of regular season games. I predict the Hawks to win 55 games next year, finishing second in the East behind Cleveland. Even though I have them losing more games than last season, I see them as a better, more complete and versatile team. There's no reason they shouldn't make it to the second round of the Playoffs and potentially beyond.
Final Prediction: 55-27, 2nd seed in the East, Southeast Division Champions, advance to Conference Finals.
(Patrick Laney) 54 wins and finish 3rd in the standings. Last season set a standard that leaves everyone ready for May/June. Some of that longing will permeate to the locker room where Atlanta will drop more games this season that they should win. Be careful sounding the alarm when the Hawks have a few flat games.
(Josh Lane) I am going to go with 56 wins and second in the East. I think the Hawks will struggle at the beginning of the season due to the new players on the roster. It will take a while to figure out how the rotations. will look and who will take DeMarre's place in the starting lineup. I think we will start to see who the Hawks are come January. Also outside of the Cavs, there are a bunch of unknowns about the teams in the East which makes me hesitant to say that the Bulls or Wizards are better than the Hawks at this point in time.
(Mark Phelps) Despite losing DeMarre and taking a small step backward, this is still a very good team. Barring injuries, the Cavs are still the team to beat, so right now I am saying the Hawks will win 54 games and finish second in the East to LeBron & Co.
(Jason Walker) Whoa baby, here we go. I think the Hawks repeat 60 wins this season and may improve. I'm going to be the contrarian among the populace of NBA pundits and say why can't the Hawks do it again? Yes, DeMarre Carroll is gone, but this team looks stronger than ever with improved front court depth and the East hasn't gotten that much better that it'll be a grind. Their continuity remains extremely underrated and as long as health prevails, I say 60 wins are more than just a maybe for this season.
Total Prediction 61-21, 2nd in the East, 1st in the Southeast -- Conference Finals
(James Braswell) The Hawks will win around 50-55 games this season. They'll rank 3rd in the Eastern Conference, behind the Cavaliers and the Wizards.
(Phil Naessens) I see the Hawks going 54-28 and maybe winning 56 games. I also see them winning the Southeast although I think barring injury the Miami Heat will absolutely give them a run for their money. 54 wins makes them either a 2 or 3 seed in the East and that's where I think they would see themselves also.
What do you think? Be sure to vote in our poll below and let us know why in the comments.