The Atlanta Hawks have quietly put together a three-game winning streak including a thrilling overtime win over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. That recent run of success has Atlanta climbing once again in this week’s power rankings.
It's been a while since we had good cause to uncork a vintage #EvenTheHawks reference, but the opening is there after Atlanta halted a run of 11 successive defeats to the Spurs with a stirring overtime triumph Sunday night over visiting San Antonio. So Mike Budenholzer finally has a W over his mentor Pop, on top of Atlanta's wins this season over the Cavaliers, Rockets and Raptors. The Hawks, though, aren't likely to get carried away with their recent 8-4 uptick. They're listening to trade offers for the mainstay likes of Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver because it's the smart thing to do with free agents-to-be on a team that no longer looks like 60-win material.
They actually have a negative point differential (minus-9) in Part 3, but it includes wins over the Bucks, Raptors, Thunder and Spurs. Tim Hardaway Jr. shot 0-for-7 against his former team earlier in the week, but the Hawks still beat the Knicks and Hardaway made up for it with 29 points, including the game-tying three in regulation and two more in overtime, against San Antonio on Sunday. That was clearly the best game of the year.
Matt Moore follows suit and moves Atlanta up two spots to No. 12 in this week’s rankings for CBSSports.
Mike Budenholzer's ability to craft a defense (Hawks are 5th in defensive rating) is terrific. But they need a trade for an offensive upgrade. There are a lot of reasons for them to be calling a team like Denver about a deal. But if they decide to move Millsap, they have to alter their plans in a more significant way.
The Hawks jump three spots to No. 12 in Kurt Helin’s rankings for Pro Basketball Talk.
Interesting note: in close games late, Thabo Sefolosha plays for the Hawks and Kent Bazemore — he of the new four-year, $72 million contract — sits. With Bazemore watching, the Hawks had an impressive win over the Spurs Sunday at home. Interesting timing department: Al Horford returns to Phillips Arena for the first time Friday night with his new team, just as rumors of Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver trades start to rumble through the league.
Finally, Jeremy Woo moves Atlanta up two spots to No. 14 in his rankings at The Crossover.
Reports surfaced over the weekend that the Hawks are considering a Paul Millsap trade. He’s 31, he’s sure to opt out and sign a new deal this summer and the team’s fighting to tread water. It would suck to watch Atlanta break up the band, but as we said here a few weeks ago, imagine how fun Millsap could be on basically any playoff team (cough Raptors cough).