The Atlanta Hawks went 2-2 last week thanks to a big comeback in Chicago and an All-Star effort from Paul Millsap in Sunday’s four-overtime win over the Knicks. Despite those victories, there were a pair of ugly home losses to the Clippers and the Wizards and that has Atlanta sliding a bit in this week’s Power Rankings roundup.
ESPN.com’s Marc Stein gets things started this week dropping the Atlanta Hawks one spot to No. 7 this week.
As badly as we wanted Joel Embiid on the East's All-Star squad, how can one argue against Paul Millsap? You simply can't after watching Millsap log a ridiculous 60 minutes Sunday (with 37 points, 19 boards and 7 assists) in Atlanta's four-overtime marathon win over the Knicks that lasted longer in real time than the five-set Australian Open men's final. The Hawks have the average nightly scoring margin of a 58-win team with Millsap on the floor ... and a 14-win team when he sits. Best of all: Here's Millsap joining us on the NBA Insiders show on ESPN Radio shortly after falling just one minute shy of Eddie Johnson's franchise-record 61 minutes in a game in February 1982.
The Hawks needed four overtimes against the Knicks on Sunday to hold onto fourth place in the East after getting thumped by the fifth-place Wizards two days earlier. They still have one of the better benches in the league (with an aggregate bench NetRtg of plus-2.7 in January), but, with Thabo Sefolosha out, only eight guys played more than 10 minutes in what was a 68-minute game on Sunday. Fortunately, they have two full days off before a Miami-Houston back-to-back this week. They've swept their last three back-to-backs and are 13-7 (6-4 in the first game, 7-3 in the second game) on back-to-backs thus far.
CBS Sports’ Matt Moore reverses the trend and bumps Atlanta up a couple of spots this week to No. 6.
Atlanta has lost marginally less than the other teams around them, so they hang on here. But it should be noted that they grade out really poorly in every advanced metric analysis of their schedule. Basketball Reference's Simple Rating System, which uses point differential and strength of schedule, has them seventh in the East. The Hawks are basically walking around with a giant sign that says "FRAUDS!" taped to their back that they can't see.
Pro Basketball Talk’s Kurt Helin drops Atlanta two spots to No. 8 this week and wonders if regression is on the way for the Hawks.
The Hawks don’t win the easy way, they had the dramatic comeback win against the Bulls and the 4OT game against the Knicks last week. However, they also had ugly losses to the Clippers (without CP3 or Griffin) and falling by 26 to the Wizards. Atlanta has the net rating of a .500 team and to me it feels like the Hawks are performing over their heads, meaning the likely regress to the mean at some point.
Finally, Jeremy Woo slots the Hawks in at No. 11 this week in his rankings for SI’s The Crossover.