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Power rankings roundup: Rock bottom?

Taking a look at this week’s power rankings.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

In previous editions of our power rankings roundup, the Atlanta Hawks were near the basement in the league. At this point, we just have to assume (or perhaps hope?) that this week represents rock bottom.

After so much promise, Atlanta’s season has spiraled downward to where the team currently resides, with most placing the Hawks at the bottom of the NBA. Is that too harsh? Possibly, but a blowout loss to the Knicks to go along with a continued losing streak deserves this type of criticism and overall skepticism.

Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports puts the Hawks at the bottom in ranking Lloyd Pierce’s team at No. 30 overall.

Losers of seven straight, the Hawks are now tied for the worst record in the NBA and have the league’s worst net rating. The 23-point loss to the Knicks on Tuesday was the low point of the season, and they played a bit more inspired after that, but still lost. John Collins is available to return from his suspension on Monday, and Atlanta desperately needs a jolt of energy and inspiration.

The good people of ESPN also put the Hawks at No. 30 in this week’s ranking.

Trae Young is still flying high while the rest of the Hawks are grounded. The second-year guard has recorded four 40-point games this season and has scored 30 points in 16 of them. Help is on the way Monday night, when center John Collins is available after serving a 25-game suspension. -- Spears

John Schuhmann of drops Atlanta to the basement while mentioning the struggles.

John Collins makes his return from his 25-game suspension when the Hawks play in Cleveland on Monday, and (going back to last season’s All-Star break) the Hawks have won 11 of the last 23 games in which they’ve had both Collins and Trae Young. But, as important as Collins is to the Hawks on both ends of the floor, one guy is probably not going to rescue a team that has lost seven straight games and 18 of its last 20. The Hawks are one of three teams that rank in the bottom five on both ends of the floor and they just lost to one of the other two (the Knicks) by 23 points. (Monday is their first game against the third of those three teams.) They’re also the only team without a win (they’re 0-6) in the second game of a back-to-back, and they’ll have one this week, beginning their post-Christmas schedule by playing the Bucks on Friday and visiting the Bulls on Saturday.

The folks at Yahoo Sports (via Rotoworld) manage to break the trend and put Atlanta at No. 29 while shedding light on Trae Young’s positive play.

The good news for Hawks fans is that Trae Young is averaging 29.7 points, 8.4 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 3.3 made treys over Atlanta’s last seven games. The bad news is the Hawks ate 0-7 in those seven games.

That does it for another week in the NBA power rankings roundup. With the return of John Collins to the lineup, we might see the Hawks move up in the rankings, but the Hawks need to actually win games in order for that to happen.

As always, let me know where I am wrong or where you disagree with the rankings below.