ESPN’s RPM projections don’t love the Atlanta Hawks this season and, while they aren’t alone among statistical models, the numbers have drawn the ire of the fan base as a result. Still, the worldwide leader still generates quite a bit of discussion and, for the most part, “real plus-minus” does a strong job of projecting both players and teams.
With that in mind, ESPN’s individual projections emerged this week and it was not point guard Dennis Schröder sitting atop the heap for Atlanta. In fact, it was center Dewayne Dedmon (No. 91 overall) with a sizable lead over the rest of the roster and only Ersan Ilyasova (No. 103 overall) joined him in ranking as a positive overall contributor.
A full glance at the list is definitely warranted to gain context but Dedmon’s strong rating relies on his defensive aptitude while Ilyasova earns slightly above-average marks on both ends of the floor. As for Schröder, the best player on Atlanta’s roster does not appear until No. 190 overall and, in short, his defensive issues from a season ago are likely reflected violently in this ranking.
Elsewhere, Taurean Prince (No. 187), Mike Muscala (No. 159) and Luke Babbitt (No. 194) fall within the top 200 but they are only joined by the aforementioned trio of Dedmon, Ilyasova and Schröder on Atlanta’s roster. The rankings do not include numbers for DeAndre’ Bembry (lack of data), John Collins (rookie) or Tyler Dorsey (rookie) but the remainder of the available roster is not treated in the most favorable light.
It is important to note that RPM isn’t everything and it can be especially difficult to gauge given the way that the Hawks roster breaks down right now. In the same breath, it is instructive when trying to deduce what ESPN sees (or doesn’t see) in the 2017-18 Hawks and it could certainly provide some fuel for individual members of the roster if they are informed of its contents.