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2023-24 NBA Predictions: ESPN panel projects Eastern Conference records

How many games will the Hawks win next season?

2023 NBA Playoffs - Boston Celtics v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s that time of the NBA calendar when we begin to turn our attention to the upcoming season. With late September training camp just around the corner, most teams have locked in rosters at this point in the year — although a number of league-altering trades could still unfold. The Hawks had some roster turnover this summer, namely the loss of starting power forward John Collins, but the team will look to improve on their 41-41 record in 2022-23 regardless.

But how does the team stack up in the eyes of experts from the Worldwide Leader in Sports? ESPN put together a panel of NBA insiders and experts to give their thoughts on all of the teams in the Eastern Conference.

So where did the Hawks land? Let’s find out:

Eastern Conference standings

The contenders

1. Boston Celtics: 55-27

2. Milwaukee Bucks: 54-28

3. Cleveland Cavaliers: 50-32

4. Philadelphia 76ers: 47-35

5. Miami Heat: 46-36

6. New York Knicks: 46-36


The play-in group

7. Atlanta Hawks: 41-41

8. Brooklyn Nets: 39-43

9. Indiana Pacers: 38-44

10. Orlando Magic: 38-44

The Hawks have the best chance from this group to break through after two straight appearances in the play-in tournament. Much of that promise will depend on the continuing partnership of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray.

Quin Snyder enters his first full season as Atlanta’s coach and will have one of the East’s strongest backcourts with Young and Murray, who signed a four-year, $120 million deal this summer. Expect Onyeka Okongwu to take a larger role in the frontcourt after the departure of John Collins.


The bottom five

11. Chicago Bulls: 37-45

12. Toronto Raptors: 36-46

13. Charlotte Hornets: 30-52

14. Detroit Pistons: 26-56

15. Washington Wizards: 24-58

I recently tried my hand at the exercise of tiering the Eastern Conference teams, and the general groupings above do largely line up with my own. However, even ignoring the idea that Okongwu and Collins ever truly overlapped positions in the frontcourt, the prediction of another 41-41 record from the writers at ESPN comes across as a predictable dig for this Hawks team.

Given the integration of coach Snyder’s new staff and the ability to implement a vision in his first full season in charge, it’s very likely from my point of view that the Hawks will improve on their .500 record from a season ago. What do you think? Too harsh, too lenient, or right on point from this panel?