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NBA Power Rankings: Atlanta Hawks hanging in the Top 10

This week’s power rankings roundup sees the Hawks hanging in the Top 10 despite a pair of losses.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Atlanta Hawks Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks dropped a pair of winnable games last week and thus take a dip in this week’s Power Rankings roundup. Atlanta is still in or near the Top 10 and most writers seem to be pretty pleased with their start to the season.

ESPN.com’s Marc Stein drops the Hawks one spot this week to No. 10.

The schedule hasn't been the toughest, true, but Atlanta will arrive for Tuesday night's plenty challenging visit to Cleveland sporting the top-rated team defense in the Eastern Conference. Dismiss this if you wish as premature praise, too, but Dwight Howard will also confront the Cavs in a really good place, with his Hawks career off to a strong statistical start and a comfortable victory to savor from Saturday night's maiden reunion game with James Harden and the Rockets.

John Schuhmann of NBA.com drops Atlanta two spots to No. 8 this week.

The Hawks started the season with three double-digit wins, lost to the 1-3 Lakers (unable to get stops) and 0-3 Wizards (unable to make shots), and then beat the Rockets behind Dwight Howard's fifth double-double. Their offense has been rather anemic (96 points scored per 100 possessions) with both Howard and Paul Millsap on the floor, but potent (112) with one of them on the bench. Mike Muscala shooting 71 percent (he and Howard rank first and second in field goal percentage) has something to do with that, but it's worth continued monitoring.

The Hawks hold steady this week in Matt Moore’s weekly power rankings for CBS Sports.

Atlanta has not handled success well under Mike Budenholzer. Outside of that great three-month stretch in 2014-15, the Hawks don't sustain great play well. Their schedule toughens up the next two weeks; we'll learn a lot about them in that time.

Finally, Pro Basketball Talk’s Kurt Helin drops Atlanta two spots to No. 7 this week

This is a team not taking full advantage of the soft part of the schedule (and it gets tougher this week with the Cavaliers and Bulls). However, the defense is second best in the NBA at 94 points allowed per 100 possessions and that is getting them wins. Mike Budenholzer is using Dwight Howard well, not just giving him the ball on the block but also in the high post and places where he’s asked to facilitate, not just score. It’s got Howard involved beyond just defendable post ups.