It feels surreal, but the Atlanta Hawks are officially back to playing basketball. To begin the season, fans were able to witness the Hawks win two games and claim that they are one of the few undefeated teams in this shortened season. As a result, fans are high on this team right now, and we are here to see what certain writers from around the globe think in this week’s roundup of NBA power rankings.
NBA.com: No. 16
Because he shoots long 3s, drops crazy dimes, and fool defenders with fake behind-the-back passes that go through his legs, we can overlook Trae Young’s ability to get to the line. But among 155 players with at least 500 field goal attempts last season, he ranked 11th in free throw rate (44.8 attempts per 100 shots from the field). And in scoring 73 points through the Hawks’ first two games, Young had almost as many free throw attempts (31) as field goal attempts (36). In Memphis on Saturday, Ja Morant was targeting Young in the pick-and-roll, but Young got him back by drawing some fouls on the other end. And those free throws are even more valuable when you shoot 85% from the stripe.
The Hawks have been shorthanded, but they’re 2-0, holding up relatively well defensively and on the glass (where De’Andre Hunter can get after it) despite a lack of size. Clint Capela is expected to make his long-awaited Hawks debut against Detroit on Monday, but it could be a while before Kris Dunn (set to have ankle surgery on Wednesday) makes his.
ESPN.com: No. 16
After the Hawks didn’t get invited to the bubble, Trae Young had to wait around for more than nine months to play an organized basketball game. He started out his regular season with a bang, though — scoring 37 points on 12 field goal attempts. That’s the most points ever on 12 or fewer shot attempts in the shot clock era. He followed that up with a 36-point performance to lift the Hawks to a 2-0 start.
CBS Sports: No. 4
The new-look Hawks have not disappointed, destroying the Bulls in the opener before picking up a solid win over the Grizzlies on Saturday. Trae Young set a modern record by scoring 37 points on just 12 field goal attempts against Chicago, and Atlanta has showcased its newfound depth with seven players averaging double-figure scoring in the first two games. Whether they’ll be able to defend enough to become true contenders remains to be seen, but the Hawks can score with the best of them.
After the opening week, it looks like the Hawks have moved up across the board with a pair of wins on the road. It is really early in the season, but let’s see if the Hawks can continue to rise in the rankings after this upcoming week which includes their home opener on Monday.