Projection systems are tricky and that is doubly true for a team in the Atlanta Hawks that significantly overhauled the roster in the offseason. How many minutes will John Collins get? What is the overall plan in the frontcourt? How will Taurean Prince and DeAndre’ Bembry develop? Questions abound but the good folks at CBS Sports have a more optimistic opinion than most.
In picking every team’s Las Vegas over/under with their SportsLine projection model, CBS predicts 32.4 victories for the Hawks and says the following:
The Hawks' best player is Dennis Schroder. That's a bad start, but occurs when a club clears long-term contracts from the books. It should be noted that Mike Budenholzer is still one heck of a coach, and their young guys were quietly pretty good last season. Clearing 26 wins seems like a good approach here.
Obviously, 32 or 33 victories wouldn’t be earth-shattering but this is a significant gap from the 25.5 victories Las Vegas foresees (and even ESPN’s RPM projection) are at this point. The point about Schröder serving as the team’s best player isn’t new but there have been encouraging signs over the summer and, if anything, the point guard is the most firmly entrenched piece of the rotation at this point in time.
Without knowing exactly what the model estimates in terms of playing time and overall deployment, it is tough to grade but this is a more positive forecast than most available at this point. It’s the little things.