Well, this has been an interesting week if you are a fan of the Atlanta Hawks. The team suffered its first couple of losses this season, first in a shoot-out in Brooklyn and, in my opinion, a schedule loss against Cleveland. So far, Atlanta has outperformed some expectations, largely due to its high-powered offense.
Let us take a look at where the Hawks land in this week’s power ranking roundup.
Through four games (including two against Brooklyn), the Hawks had the league’s No. 1 offense, despite getting just 28 total minutes from Danilo Gallinari, who returned from a two-game absence on Wednesday and promptly sprained his ankle three minutes into his first stint back on the floor. Trae Young was getting to the line more than James Harden, John Collins and Clint Capela were giving them vertical spacing, and all three of their young wings were shooting well. They were even scoring efficiently with Young off the floor.
So, perhaps the Hawks were do for a stinker (56 points on 73 possessions over the final 36 minutes) in the second game of their first back-to-back. Young had more turnovers (6) than free throw attempts (4) and the Hawks blew a 15-point, second-half lead against the Cavs on Saturday. Much of this season’s results (league-wide) have seemingly depended on 3-point shooting, but the Hawks lost a game in which their opponent shot 7-for-29 (24%) from beyond the arc. They rank second in point differential from 3-point range (+12.5 per game), but 27th in points in the paint differential (-6.0 per game).
The Hawks don’t have another back-to-back until Jan. 15 and 16. But they play another team that’s surprisingly ranks in the top 10 defensively (the Knicks) on Monday.
Atlanta’s 145-141 loss to Brooklyn might be the early candidate for Game of the Year, and the Hawks quickly avenged that defeat with an 18-point win over the Nets two nights later. Atlanta’s offense has been clicking so far this season, and with Trae Young doing his best James Harden impersonation with 11.7 free throw attempts per game, the offense should continue to jell.
The Hawks are pretty much exactly what we thought they would be to start the year — an offensive powerhouse that has had very little success stopping the opponent from scoring. On a lot of nights that will be enough, however, since they’re second in the NBA at 116.7 points per 100 possessions so far this season. Atlanta went 2-2 this week, while Trae Young continued his maniacal free-throw pace with nearly 10 attempts per game. With Danilo Gallinari getting re-injured just three minutes into his return, De’Andre Hunter had a strong week, averaging nearly 16 points per game on 46 percent 3-point shooting.
This is already a fun squad and they’ve had very little time to simmer in the pot. This team is shooting over 40 percent on 3-pointers on nearly 40 attempts per game. Trae Young is firing away, but this team is deep with talent on the wings.
Overall, it looks like Atlanta has moved up across the board, but the Hawks are still fighting to get into the top 10. The Hawks look to have a favorable schedule coming up, so if they can take care of business this week, we might see a consensus top 10 Hawks team in our next edition.