Don’t look now, but the Atlanta Hawks — at least in my opinion — have had their most impressive wins of the season in a matter of three days. Atlanta managed to beat the Miami Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks with a couple of their key players sidelined.
We are probably watching a moment of growth from this team during this grueling season. As the Hawks are continuing to fight for home court advantage during this ending stretch of the season, let’s see where the Hawks place in this weeks power rankings roundup.
ESPN — No. 11
With a win over the Bucks on Sunday, the Hawks improved to 20-7 since Nate McMillan took over as interim coach. That mark is the best record in the East during that span, with only the Nuggets having a better record overall. Atlanta improved to seven games over .500 for the first time this season and has won 11 of its past 14 games as it makes a push for home-court advantage in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
CBS Sports — No. 7
Those preaching that the Hawks are for real have more evidence: back-to-back wins over the Heat and Bucks without Trae Young. Their only loss this week came in overtime to the blazing-hot Knicks, the same game in which Young left early with an ankle injury. Bogdan Bogdanovic continues to have a prominent role in the offense, both scoring and facilitating, while Kevin Huerter has taken on more playmaking duties with Young out. Atlanta is now tied with the Knicks, who it would meet in the 4-5 matchup if the season ended today.
NBA.com — No. 11
The Hawks lost hold of fourth place in the East when Trae Young turned his left ankle in New York on Wednesday. After Young went down, they were outscored, 50-32, over the final 18 minutes of the overtime loss. As the Hawks were swept in the season series, they were outscored by 42 points in Young’s 40 minutes off the floor.
But they’ve since been able to keep pace with the Knicks by beating the Heat and Bucks with Young on the shelf. Bogdan Bogdanovic continues to make up for lost time (and the lost point guard), averaging 22.3 points and shooting 50% from 3-point range (on nine attempts per game) in April. Minutes with Bogdanovic and Lou Williams on the floor together prior to the weekend, but they both caught fire at the same time on Sunday, combining for 27 fourth-quarter points as the Hawks came back from 10 points down to stun the Bucks. Atlanta has won its last five games that Young has missed, with Brandon Goodwin giving them good minutes whether he’s started (first three of those five games) or come off the bench (the last two).
The Hawks have an easier remaining schedule than the Knicks, and they’ve been nearly as hot — 11-3 with the league’s third-ranked offense in April.
The Ringer — No. 11
What a turnaround.
The Hawks are one of the stories of the season. Atlanta looked like a lost cause when Lloyd Pierce was dumped on March 1, but now have won 20 of 27 games under Nate McMillan. Until Trae Young turned his ankle last week, the team was finally getting healthy after a barrage of early-season injuries. With Young out, Bogdan Bogdanovic has continued to shine in his absence. McMillan deserves serious consideration for Coach of the Year, and when Young is healthy, this team looks like a legitimately tough playoff opponent. This progress is a serious accomplishment, no matter how the postseason goes.
The Hawks look to have risen across the board and have caught the eyes of many national writers. The season is not over yet, but you have to be encouraged as a fan to see this team making such a late season push.
Dare I say, the Hawks have a good chance to avoid the play-in tournament, which is where they were mocked by many at the beginning of the season.