The Atlanta Hawks raised a lot of eyebrows during the 2021 NBA postseason, and they continue to draw more positive reviews heading into the 2020-21 season. ESPN released their ‘NBA Future Power Rankings’ piece recently, and the Hawks nearly cracked the top ten.
ESPN laid out the criteria for the future ranking as a “projection of the on-court success expected for each team over the next three seasons: 2021-22, 2022-23 and 2023-24.” The Hawks ranked No. 11 on the list, with analyst Kevin Pelton offering this synopsis on the organization going forward:
An unexpected playoff run has the Hawks up four spots to (remarkably) their highest placement ever in the 12 years of Future Power Rankings. There’s a case to be made Atlanta belongs even higher with a core of young talent in their 20s. The duo of Trae Young and John Collins will stay together long term after both signed new contracts this summer, while our appraisal of Hawks management has improved with interim coach Nate McMillan agreeing to a new deal removing that tag. Expect Atlanta to be in the top 10 the next time we update our FPR. — Pelton
Last year, the Hawks ranked No. 16 on the same list by ESPN, and Pelton suggests in his last sentence that Atlanta isn’t done hopping up the Future Power Rankings. A franchise that features young talents like Trae Young and John Collins locked up for the foreseeable future seems like an ideal candidate to be a staple inside the top ten on the list for years to come.
The Hawks play one more preseason game Thursday Oct. 14 vs. the Miami Heat before opening the regular season a week later on Oct. 21 vs. the Dallas Mavericks.