USA Today released their projections for the 2016-17 NBA regular season with the Atlanta Hawks projected as the Southeast Division champion. USA Today projects 48 wins for Atlanta and seems quite confident in their selection saying:
Yes the Atlanta Hawks are depending on Dwight Howard to revert back to his younger days — a return to Superman, if you will. But this is an unselfish team that has good ball movement and multiple scoring options. Mike Budenholzer is a good coach, coming from the Spurs organization, who has the team on the same page. Two years ago they had the best record in the East and made it to the conference finals. We look for them to win this division pretty handily.
More bullish on the Hawks than most media outlets, USA Today puts heavy faith in Budenholzer to figure out and succeed with this new look team. There are certainly worse coaches to believe in than Bud. Only time will show whether USA Today will be considered a prophet or Miss Cleo.