I have to give credit where it is due, the Atlanta Hawks have fought back with a decimated lineup to pick up a couple of wins that they weren’t necessarily expected to get. In addition, it appears that the new players to this roster are becoming more comfortable and making a more positive impact that what we were able to see earlier this season.
With that said, let’s see if that is reflected in this weeks power ranking roundup.
NBA.com — No. 12
Trae Young’s ability to take over games is hampered by his inability to shoot very effectively. His effective field goal percentage of 49.8% is well below the league average (53.7%) and ranks 139th among 177 players with at least 300 field goal attempts. Generally, Young’s passing and ability to draw fouls are why the Hawks’ offense has been so much better with him on the floor. But in scoring or assisting on all 34 of the Hawks’ points over the last 15 minutes of their double-overtime win in San Antonio on Thursday, Young got hot, with one floater in the first overtime being particularly ridiculous. The Hawks are still just 11-16 in games that were within five points in the last five minutes, mostly because their clutch defense has been bad.
Without Young on Friday and with him scoring just 13 points on 3-for-11 shooting on Sunday, the Hawks’ offense remained efficient enough to beat the Pelicans and Warriors. Their offense with Young off the floor has been an issue for three years now, but they’ve scored 128 points per 100 possessions in Lou Williams’ 79 minutes thus far. The Hawks stumbled a bit on their eight-game trip through the Western Conference, but they’re still 12-4 (tied for fourth best in the league) since March 1 and (starting with the win over Golden State on Sunday) playing 16 of their final 23 games at home.
ESPN — No. 13
Atlanta finished off its eight-game road trip with several starters missing but was still able to finish with back-to-back wins, including against New Orleans on Friday on the second night of a back-to-back without Trae Young, John Collins and Danilo Gallinari. On Sunday, back in the friendly confines of State Farm Arena, Atlanta defeated Golden State — with Young and Gallinari in the lineup — to improve to 26-24 and take a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference.
CBS Sports — No. 13
After losing four of five games, the Hawks turned things around with three straight wins to finish the week. Bogdan Bogdanovic stepped up with multiple players out due to injury, averaging 21.5 points and 5.8 assists per game this week on 57 percent 3-point shooting. Lou Williams got off to a great start with Atlanta after being traded from the Clippers, averaging 13.7 points and five assists in his first three games with the team.
The Hawks have a favorable schedule coming up so, if Atlanta can pick up a few wins, they will be in good shape and not only be able to move up in the rankings, but also be in a good position once the post season arrives.