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Power Rankings Roundup: Strides to begin the second half

Taking a look at this week’s power rankings.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Atlanta Hawks Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks only managed to grab two wins this past week after dropping a couple of close games the the 76ers and the Magic. From there, things cratered with a blowout loss to the Grizzlies on Monday but, to Atlanta’s benefit, most national power rankings were released before that game.

Despite the semi-losing streak Atlanta suffered, growth has been seen from the young guys on the team. With that in mind, let us take a glance at where the Hawks rank in this week’s power ranking roundup.

ESPN.com starts things off this week by moving the Hawks to No. 23.

The Hawks have a chance to win their 20th game of the season at home against Memphis on Monday. The Hawks have won eight of their past 10 home games, including wins over the Clippers, Heat and Mavericks. — Spears

Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports keeps the Hawks at No. 24 while noting the strong week from John Collins.

The Hawks started off the week with losses to the 76ers and Magic, but finished strongly with wins over the Nets and Trail Blazers. Trae Young averaged 28 points and 12.5 assists for the week, compared to just 2.5 turnovers per game, while John Collins averaged 26 points and 9.8 rebounds.

Tommy Beer from Yahoo notices some improvement as he also puts the Hawks at No. 24.

The Hawks are trending in the right direction, having won two straight games and four of the six games they’ve played since the All-Star break, with Trae Young leading the way. Over the final 11 games played in February, Ice Trae averaged 33.0 points, 10.9 dimes, 3.6 made treys and 3.2 rebounds.

John Schuhmann of NBA.com also moves the Hawks up, but this time up to No. 21 in this weeks ranking.

If you like seeing the ball go in the basket a lot, Hawks games are for you. Since the All-Star break, Atlanta ranks third in pace, fourth in offensive efficiency, and 23rd in defensive efficiency, with the Hawks and their opponents having combined to average 245 points over the six games.

Trae Young has shot just 32% from 3-point range since the break, but has averaged 11.3 assists while cutting down on turnovers. John Collins shooting 64% (including 14-for-22 from 3-point range) since the break certainly helps with Young’s assist numbers. Though Collins has missed 26 of the Hawks’ 62 games, Young has 22 more assists to Collins (107) than he has to any other teammate. Young’s 4.9 assists to Collins per 36 minutes on the floor together is the highest rate among combos with at least 100 total assists from one teammate to the other.

Collins played most of his minutes at center as the Hawks shot 53% in double-digit wins over Brooklyn and Portland over the weekend. Their game against the Grizzlies on Monday is another opportunity to play spoiler and their fourth try for their first three-game winning streak of the season.

For the final ranking on our list, Michael Shapiro from Sports Illustrated looks at the positives for next season in this week’s ranking, placing Atlanta at No. 25.

John Collins’ 25-game PED suspension derailed the Hawks’ season before it began, yet the progress Collins has shown this year will certainly encourage Lloyd Pierce and Co. Collins is a supreme athletic talent, and his 58-40-80 shooting splits are more than respectable. The Wake Forest product isn’t a five despite the NBA’s small-ball trend. He remains a shaky (at best) defender. But if Clint Capela can log a healthy season in 2020-21, the playoffs are certainly in play for the young Hawks.

With the exception of Monday, the Hawks have been competitive in recent days and we can definitely tell through the power ranking for this week. Young and Collins continue to be great, and the rookies seem to finding their place. It will be interesting to see if Atlanta can continue to improve their play as they close the season.

As always, leave your thoughts below, and here is a random tweet of optimism for the week: