The Atlanta Hawks are headed back in the right direction and inexplicably all in again on this season. A six-game winning streak has them once again moving up in this week’s Power Rankings roundup.
Four games into the 2017 portion of its schedule, Atlanta has only suffered one loss: Kyle Korver. Korver's stunning departure via trade to Cleveland leaves Paul Millsap as the last remaining starter from a 60-win team in 2014-15, but these guys are suddenly playing their best ball of the season amid management's decision to disassemble things. The highlights of a season-high-tying win streak that has reached six games: Dennis Schroder's quarterbacking, Tim Hardaway Jr.'s growing impact and Dwight Howard's high efficiency. The question now, of course, is how the winning impacts Atlanta's plans with Millsap. And as if the Hawks were short on drama: What sort of reception awaits Al Horford on his return to town Friday night?
It will be fascinating to see where the Korver trade (and assumed Paul Millsap trade) leads and who remains a part of the long-term plan. You only have to travel 400 miles south to find a team - Orlando - that intentionally took a step backward by trading Howard five years ago and still doesn't have a clear path toward sustained success. Right now, the Hawks have won six straight games, holding their opponents to just 96 points per 100 possessions. Eleven of their next 12 games are either at home or against a team currently under .500.
Matt Moore explains the Hawks’ sudden reversal on the trade market as well as anyone can and moves Atlanta up four spots to No. 8 in his rankings for CBSSports.
They're considering a total teardown ... so of course the team goes out and wins six straight. Don't be surprised if a stupid-easy schedule through the trade deadline scuttles any future trades. The only outlier is the worry that they won't get anything for Paul Millsap after getting nothing for Al Horford last year.
ProBasketball Talk’s Kurt Helin is apparently already counting Atlanta’s Tuesday night game in Brooklyn as a win and moves the Hawks up three spots this week to No. 9 while he is at it.
Winners of seven in a row thanks to fantastic defensive play, but how hard will the Kyle Korver loss hit them? And how will they deal with the sword hanging over their head in the form of impending Paul Millsap and Thabo Sefolosha trades? Did this win streak build up enough of a cushion to keep them in the playoffs when those trades come down? Plenty of questions in Atlanta, but they are just three games from falling out of the playoffs right now in the crowded East.
Finally, Jeremy Woo moves Atlanta up four spots on No. 10 at SI.com’s The Crossover.
It’s funny that all these Hawks trade rumors are swirling just as the team rips off a six-game win streak. Atlanta’s had issues, but it's worth mentioning that the lineup of Dennis Schroder, Thabo Sefolosha, Kent Bazemore, Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard has been the league’s most efficient defensive group (minimum 100 minutes played). Whether or not they deal Millsap will tell you how the front office sees the long-term ceiling.