Another week has ended in this up and down season for the Atlanta Hawks. The team continues to fight for a playoff spot and find its baseline, even while navigating a ton of injuries. The Hawks managed to break a losing streak last week and, despite a disappointing loss on Friday, Atlanta bounced back with a home on Sunday over Denver.
Here is a look at how power rankings feel about the Hawks through Monday.
NBA.com — No. 20
In time for All-Star reserve voting, Trae Young is on one of those up-ticks, having averaged 35.3 points (on an effective field goal percentage of 72% and with 10 free throws per game) and 11.3 assists over the last three games. Clint Capela has come along for the ride, the Hawks have won two out of three for the first time this month, and you could argue that their win over the Nuggets on Sunday was their best of the season.
It’s worth repeating that the Hawks are, statistically, one of the league’s most improved teams. They’ve seen the second biggest jump in point differential per 100 possessions, with its fifth most improved offense and its fourth most improved defense. But the improvement hasn’t been the same in the standings, where the Hawks are the only team with a losing record and a positive point differential, because they’ve struggled, especially defensively, in close games.
They’re 6-11 in games that were within five points in the last five minutes, with the league’s 28th-ranked clutch defense. And they’re a game and a half behind the seventh-place Knicks, who have beat them twice in games that were decided late. The Hawks were within two with 3 1/2 minutes left at Madison Square Garden on Monday, but just couldn’t get a stop, allowing the Knicks’ 24th-ranked offense to score 19 points on its final nine possessions.
ESPN — No. 20
Hawks point guard Trae Young had 35 points and 15 assists in Sunday’s win over the Nuggets. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, it was Young’s 42nd career game with at least 25 points and 10 assists, most in the NBA since his debut. Also, he tied Luka Doncic with his fifth 30-point, 15-assist game by a player age 22 or younger. Only Oscar Robertson (eight) has more.
CBS Sports — No. 24
The Hawks lost to the Knicks, split with the Celtics, then finished off the week by beating the Nuggets behind 35 points and 15 assists from Trae Young. After all of their offseason moves, Atlanta’s bench unit is a hodgepodge of journeymen and rookies, as Bogdan Bogdanovic, Rajon Rondo and DeAndre Hunter all deal with injuries. If they can stay afloat while those guys recuperate, the Hawks could be poised for a second-half run.
The Hawks are currently outside of the top eight in the East but with consistent play, they could find themselves achieving their goals from the beginning of the season.