The NBA is less than two months away from its regular season tip, and with most (Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell blockbuster trades aside) teams set roster wise, ESPN has released fresh power rankings ahead of the 2022-23 season. The Atlanta Hawks came in at No. 15 in those new rankings:
The Hawks made one of the biggest splashes of the offseason in late June when they traded for All-Star guard Dejounte Murray for three first-round picks (two unprotected). Now the Hawks move forward with a backcourt of Murray and Trae Young. Atlanta also added Justin Holiday and Aaron Holiday in separate deals, reuniting two of the league’s three Holiday brothers while also picking up Frank Kaminsky. But all eyes will be on how Young and Murray mesh once training camp begins.
To no surprise, the Murray acquisition was the biggest highlight and likely the main reason the Hawks moved up four spots in the ranking from No. 19 since the post-NBA Finals ESPN power rankings. This is still not a very optimistic view of the Hawks, who were top-5 in the NBA in net rating over their last 40 games in 2021-22.
with everyone preparing for the schedule release, it is a good time for me to share that the atlanta hawks had a top-five net rating in the NBA from MLK Day on last season— Brad Rowland (@BTRowland) August 17, 2022
+4.7 per 100
26-14 over the last 40 games https://t.co/f5p6EL71Xt
Despite the Murray addition, Atlanta seems to be flying a bit under the radar following their early exit in the 2022 postseason, when they lost in the first round to the Miami Heat in what was a one-sided five game series. The trade for Murray however adds an element to the roster that has not been there for the Hawks in years past alongside Trae Young. Atlanta has finally acquired another star player who can handle the basketball and facilitate offense with or without Young on the floor.
The Hawks being a bit low in the eyes of ESPN will come as no surprise to most Atlanta faithful, but it’s notable nonetheless as we near the cusp of a new NBA season.