It's still early.
That is a familiar refrain as the calendar turns to December and, frankly, it is quite early in the NBA season to be making sweeping statements. However, the good folks at NumberFire has weighed in with statistical projections for the remainder of the 2015-2016 campaign, and the Atlanta Hawks are seen as the favorites to repeat as Southeast Division champions.
At the time of this post, the Hawks actually trail the Miami Heat by percentage points, with Atlanta holding a 12-8 mark against a 10-6 record for the Heat. However, the projection put forth by NumberFire gives the Hawks a 44.95% chance to claim the division, and Atlanta is given a projected record of 46.4 wins and 35.6 losses. These numbers narrowly edge the aforementioned Heat (projected for 44.9 wins and 37.1 losses) in the division, with the Hornets and Wizards lagging behind.
To make things more interesting, Mike Budenholzer's team projects as the number three seed in the Eastern Conference, trailing only the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, with an 11.15% chance to reach the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. This disclaimer probably is not needed, but in case it is, these numbers are a product of a statistical formula and, well, they aren't the definitive voice on the subject. Still, it is encouraging to see that the Hawks have fought through something of a sluggish start to remain at or near the top of a credible projection.
There is plenty of basketball left to be played, and we are grateful for that. Now, let this serve as a reminder that the sky isn't falling and that the numbers largely like this team once again.