Week 2 of the NBA season is here and the Atlanta Hawks are starting to turn some heads with an impressive start. Here is where they rank in this week’s set of power rankings.
It's way too early to get carried away. The Hawks' early schedule is also on the soft side, so we're doubling down here on the usual warnings this time of year to be judicious when tempted to draw conclusions about the NBA when it's only Halloween. But the Hawks have undoubtedly enjoyed a feel-good start in their quest to convince the skeptics that they're still top-four material in the East, thanks to Dwight Howard's dreamy debut and a favorable contract extensionwith Dennis Schroder.
NBA.com’s John Schuhmann moves the Hawks up two places to No. 6.
No. 1 defense after Christmas last season. No. 1 defense in the preseason. No. 1 defense after Week 1 (with some help from the Sixers). Bud is the new Thibs and Kyle Korver seems to have put last season's struggles behind him. Counting the preseason, he's 15-for-29 (52 percent) from 3-point range. Dwight Howard has been pretty quiet offensively, unless you count his work on the glass. He ranks second in rebounding percentage and as Al Horford's Celtics have struggled on the boards, the Hawks have been much improved.
The Hawks are also climbing in Matt Moore’s rankings at CBS Sports jumping up four spots on No. 11.
The Hawks' defense has been ridiculous to start. It takes about five minutes of watching Atlanta to remember "Oh, that's right, Mike Budenholzer is a super-genius."
Atlanta takes a big jump in Kurt Helin’s rankings at Pro Basketball Talk moving up six spots to No. 5.
Through two games, Atlanta has outscored its opponents by 26 points per 100 possessions, thanks to a defense that was best in the NBA in the preseason and has carried over to the regular season. Granted, one of their two games was against the Sixers. Dwight Howard has defended and rebounded well, but isn’t impacting the offense much yet — will that start to be an issue? Soft schedule this week could pad that record.
Finally, NBA.com’s David Aldrige elevates the Hawks nine spots to No. 6 after their undefeated start.
Tim Hardaway, Jr., out of the gate fast after an injury-plagued first season with the Hawks, who continue to be among the best in the league at player development/improvement.