By this point in the offseason all the big dominoes in free agency have fallen — save for the possible blockbuster trades of Damian Lillard, James Harden, and even Pascal Siakam. With Atlanta among those trying to bring in the latter, there could still be big movement within the home team’s roster, as well as in how the team is perceived around the league.
As of writing, the Hawks made one big move in shipping John Collins out for very little in return, but they also recently penned Dejounte Murray to an extension. Should things remain largely the same, the team looks headed towards promoting young players like AJ Griffin and Jalen Johnson into bigger roles going forward.
But how do sports writers and other NBA pundits see Atlanta for the upcoming season? Power rankings give us a good view into where the team is placed with respect to the other 29 teams in the league.
So without further ado, let’s dive in.
First from ESPN in their way-too-early edition of Power Rankings, Andrew Lopez writes:
18. Atlanta Hawks
2022-23 record: 41-41
Result: Lost East first round
2024 title odds: +6000
After being hired midseason, coach Quin Snyder was able to lay a foundation over the final 28 games of the regular season, a play-in tournament win over the Heat and a six-game series loss to the Celtics in the first round. Now, Snyder and Landry Fields, who oversees the team’s basketball operations, have to figure out how to take the Hawks to the next level. — Lopez
18. Atlanta Hawks (20)
Key additions (including re-signs):
Kobe Bufkin (15th pick)
Mouhamed Gueye (39th pick)
Seth Lundy (46th pick)
Patty Mills (Brooklyn)
John Collins (Utah)
Aaron Holiday (Houston)
Pressing question: With John Collins finally gone, how do the Hawks find the next gear they need?
It has to be all Quin Snyder’s coaching and his ability to form a trust and partnership with Trae Young, right? Young has such a weird reputation. It seems like he was deemed overrated to the point that now he could be underrated? His leadership needs to grow, and the Hawks need stability and focus. Young also needs help in getting some consistency from the roster around him. This does not feel like a team that made the conference finals a couple years ago. Maybe Snyder can help them figure out how to be consistent on defense, and then their potent offense becomes a pain to compete against again.
Kurt Helin of NBC Sports also weighed in, putting the Hawks 17th:
17. Hawks (41-41). To believe in the Hawks is to believe that giving Quin Snyder a full offseason and training camp will mean getting the most out of Trae Young and Dejonte Murray, getting them to blend in a more selfless, ball-moving style of play. Atlanta shipped out John Collins in a salary dump and Saddiq Bey likely moves into his spot next to Clint Capela on the front line. Expect more run for Jalen Johnson, De’Andre Hunter and Onyeka Okongwu. This is a solid roster, but can Snyder get this backcourt to mesh or are their bigger moves coming down the line? This season feels like a tryout for who will and will not fit in Snyder’s world.
It would probably be fair to ding the Atlanta Hawks for what amounted to a salary dump with John Collins. He’s more talented than the trade return suggests, but it also might’ve just been time for a new situation.
And Atlanta is pretty well-equipped to fill Collins’ role with versatile and probably more switchable forwards.
Saddiq Bey figures to start in his place, but Jalen Johnson could certainly see some of those minutes as well. Sliding De’Andre Hunter down a spot will make sense in plenty of lineups. They could even trot out some jumbo lineups that feature Onyeka Okongwu at the 4.
But ultimately, the Hawks’ two best players—Trae Young and Dejounte Murray—will almost entirely determine the team’s upside.
The fit between those two wasn’t seamless last season, but you could see why Atlanta made the trade. Murray can guard the opposition’s best perimeter player and theoretically give Young a few more off-ball opportunities on offense.
In practice, it was generally easier to slide back into the pick-and-roll-heavy attack from Young, but those two should play better together after a year of experience.
If you were keeping track, that was three ‘18s’ and one ‘17’ predictions within the 30 NBA teams, which seems to peg the Hawks for another Play-In spot in 2023-24. Of course it’s often said that the national media has a tendency to be dismissive of the Hawks, so take everything said above with a grain of salt.
What do you think? Do you think the Hawks could earn themselves a top-6 seed based on where things stand today?
Where would you ‘Power Rank’ the Hawks?
This poll is closed
1 - 12 (Playoffs/top-6 seed)
13 - 20 (Play-in/7-10 seed)
21 - 30 (Lottery)