May 10, 2012; Boston, MA, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward/center Al Horford (15) reacts during the fourth quarter of game six against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden. Boston Celtics won 83-80. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

Atlanta Hawks: Moving up in ESPN.com's Future Power Rankings


The Atlanta Hawks are on the right track moving towards the future, according to John Hollinger and Chad Ford as the ESPN.com Insiders have the Hawks moving up four spots in the latest NBA Future Power Rankings.

“The Future Power Rankings are ESPN Insider’s projection of the on-court success expected for each team in the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.”

With the recent roster overhaul of the Hawks by new general manager Danny Ferry — unloading big name players with bigger contracts, getting salary-cap relief, signing key free agents, adding quality depth at every position — Hollinger and Ford have Atlanta moving up four spots to the No. 15 slot in the future power rankings.

Atlanta’s improvement is mostly because of their dramatically improved salary-cap situation, which moved Atlanta’s “money” ranking from No. 26th to No.1, “the largest jump of any team in any category”, notes the Insiders.

However, in the most important category, “players”, the Hawks had a league-high drop from 12th to 23rd. This is mainly because of Joe Johnson’s departure and because Josh Smith only has one year remaining on his contract and hasn’t assured the organization he will re-sign with the team. “[Al] Horford is the only key player who is both signed [long term] and guaranteed to make an impact”, said Ford and Hollinger.

The Hawks moved up four spots in the “management” category, from 17th to 13th, strictly because of Danny Ferry. He has a great history with the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs, and brought his uncanny ability to pull off deals to the Hawks. Striking up separate trades for Johnson and Marvin Williams, acquiring Kyle Korver for free via trade exception, and signing Atlanta native Lou Williams, “have all been firmly on the plus side,” say the Insiders.

In the final two categories, the Hawks move up one spot in the “market” section to No. 14, and six spots in the “draft” portion from 19th to 13th respectively.

The breakdown of how ESPN.com Insiders John Hollinger and Chad Ford determine each category:

PLAYERS (0 to 600 points): Current players and their potential for the future, factoring in expected departures
MANAGEMENT (0 to 200 points): Quality and stability of front office, ownership, coaching
MONEY (0 to 200 points): Projected salary-cap situation; ability and willingness to exceed cap and pay luxury tax
MARKET (0 to 100 points): Appeal to future acquisitions based on team quality, franchise reputation, city’s desirability as a destination, market size, taxes, business and entertainment opportunities, arena quality, fans
DRAFT (0 to 100 points): Future draft picks; draft positioning
CATEGORY RANKINGS: See how each team ranked in each category

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