Another week is in the books and, well, we got to see our first look at what the Atlanta Hawks would look like if Trae Young were to ever go down with injury. There were some things that looked fine but besides that, back to back losses to the Miami Heat can’t be all that encouraging when it comes to looking at the weekly power rankings.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com installs the Hawks at No. 21 overall.
The Hawks have dropped three straight games and their two most important players each suffered ankle injuries in the span of three nights. But they will have had four straight days off before hosting the Spurs on Tuesday, Trae Young could be back this week, and John Collins returned to the game after a third-quarter ankle turn against Miami on Thursday. They’ve scored a paltry 92.4 points per 100 possessions with Young off the floor and Hawks not named Young or Collins have shot a brutal 21% from 3-point range. Cam Reddish, who started at point guard on Thursday, ranks last in effective field goal percentage (22.1%) among 181 players with at least 40 field goal attempts. The Hawks’ visit to Portland on Sunday is the start of a five-game trip and a stretch where they’re playing 18 of 27 on the road. So the conclusion of their four-game homestand seems pretty critical.
The good folks at ESPN only managed to drop Atlanta two spots this week.
Hawks guard Trae Young is listed as day-to-day after suffering a sprained ankle on Oct. 29 at Miami. Young had been averaging 26.8 points, 7.3 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game while nailing 50 percent of his 3-pointers before the injury. Atlanta rookie guard Cam Reddish started in Young’s place during a loss to Miami on Halloween, earning nine points, six rebounds and four assists.
With recognition of the most important player on the team, CBS Sports only dropped Atlanta to No. 20 on its latest list.
Atlanta suffered a close loss to the 76ers before Trae Young hurt his ankle, leading to back-to-back losses to the Heat. Obviously Young is a huge part of the Hawks offense (third in the NBA in usage rate, behind James Harden and Kawhi Leonard), so it makes sense that they would struggle until he’s able to return. When he was healthy, however, the Hawks looked capable of making a playoff push, so we’ll see if they can get back to that form.
Michael Shapiro of SI.com keeps Atlanta in the teens with moving them to No. 19 overall.
Trae Young could lead the league in usage rate as the Hawks sport only Evan Turner as a secondary point guard option. He should at least break the record for his age. LeBron James holds the usage record for a 21-and-under player at 33.6%. Young’s 36.6 pace should hold steady through 2019-20, potentially powering the Hawks toward the playoff race if Atlanta can hold steady through November.
Finally, the Hawks land at No. 19 again in the latest ranking from Yahoo.
Good news for Hawks fans, and fans of exciting NBA action in general. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweeted out Monday afternoon that Trae Young (ankle) is expected to practice today. And “barring a setback, he will likely return to the lineup Tuesday vs. San Antonio.” It sounds like Young will only miss one game, despite what appeared to be a nasty ankle injury last week.
To my surprise, the Hawks didn’t fall too much in the rankings despite dropping three straight games after opening the campaign at 2-0. I will be very interested to see if the Hawks can keep up the hot start with Young projected to return this week.
As always, leave your thoughts below and join us in the comments.