Aldridge is quick to point out that his rankings aren't a predicted order of finish. (The 76ers made the Top 10) They are however a reflection on whether or not the team is better than they were last season. He factors in the Draft, free agency signings, personnel changes and continuity.
Here is what he had to say about the Hawks:
Like Jules Winnfield, the Hawks are in a transitional period. They were plenty good during the last two regular seasons, but they were overmatched against the Cavs, going 0-8 in their last two postseason series with Cleveland. They wanted to keep Horford, but left the door open by not offering the max, and he walked to the Celtics. But Atlanta had already hedged its bet by signing Howard, looking to re-establish himself as a dominant big man in his hometown. The bet here is Howard still has enough tread left on the tires to give the Hawks defense and rebounding. The issue is the team's transition (that word again) on offense. Teague was second on the team in scoring, and Atlanta ran so much through Horford -- pick-and-rolls, slip screens, pick-and-pops -- things that Howard is not good at. But if there's one thing coach Mike Budenholzer and his staff are great at, it's finding out ways to utilize what they have. So Atlanta will no doubt develop some quick hitters and post-ups for Howard, who will have room to operate with All-Star Paul Millsap able to stretch the floor and Bazemore able to run the baseline. The Hawks will also the Kyle Korver of the last two months of the regular season and not the one who struggled through the first two months recovering from two offseason surgeries.
Aldridge designates Dennis Schroder as Atlanta's key man saying that the inconsistencies that have cropped up over his first three seasons can't continue if the Hawks are to remain in the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference.
Doesn't feel that Aldridge is far off base. This Hawks team could end up being really good, but there are a lot of question marks heading into the season.