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Hawks ranked No. 3 in NBA.com’s Eastern Conference power rankings

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Philadelphia 76ers v Atlanta Hawks - Game Four Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks are officially on the map heading into the 2021-22 season. After coming in at No. 9 in ESPN’s overall NBA power rankings, the Hawks received an even more favorable ranking by NBA.com’s John Schuhmann. Schuhmann released his offseason Eastern Conference power rankings Thursday morning, and Atlanta comes in at No. 3.

Schuhmann, one of the top stats driven writers in the business, offered a few numbers to backup his bullish view of the Hawks heading into the upcoming season:

Three numbers to know…

• The Hawks were the league’s second most improved team last season, both in regard to winning percentage (+0.271) and point differential per 100 possessions (+9.6), topped only by Golden State in both cases.

• The Hawks were the only team that ranked in the top five in both free throw percentage (81.2%, fifth) and free throw rate (27.8 attempts per 100 shots from the field, fourth). They outscored their opponents by 2.8 points per game, the league’s biggest differential, at the free throw line.

• Combining pick-and-roll ball-handler and roll-man possessions (via Synergy tracking), the Hawks scored just 0.87 points per possession on 33 possessions per game in the conference finals, down from 1.03 points per possession on 39 possessions per game through the first two rounds.

On top of these key statistics, Schuhmann highlights the addition of Delon Wright and the health of De’Andre Hunter as key factors for the Hawks in 2021-22. Atlanta continues to see a boost in national recognition on the heels of their run to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the longest postseason run for the franchise since moving to the city.

Trae Young, John Collins & Co. will look to build on a successful 2020-21 campaign in a few weeks, as we are now less than six weeks away from the 2021-22 preseason, which kicks off for the Hawks on Oct. 4 vs. the Miami Heat.

Stay tuned.