As I walked by the post office at my school, sitting in my mailbox were campaign letters (I know, ugh) and my monthly ESPN the Magazine issue. This happened to be the ESPN 2012 NBA Preview edition complete with a small blurb about a team, a player from that team, an efficiency shot chart of that player, and a projection of each team’s record and place in the conference. Second to my new Atlanta Hawks snapback lid, this addition was the possibly the most mail has ever excited me for the start of the new NBA Season.
ESPN Mag paired with Basketball Prospectus to provide an objective look at each team. Spoiler alert: Basketball Prospectus ran the numbers and projects the Atlanta Hawks to finish second in the Eastern Conference. It sounds preposterous even to the biggest Hawks homer but this is due to the logjam in the Eastern Conference after the Miami and the projected decline or stagnation of many Eastern teams.
Our overall projected record was 50.5-31.5, which reflects the expectation to beat the Charlotte Bobcats 4.5 times in four games.
I decided to go a step farther and find a consensus of prognostications for this Hawks team in their first season of the Danny Ferry era. I compiled a number of well respected journalists and bloggers for their projected records and standing location for the Atlanta Hawks. The list in no particular order:
ESPN Magazine/Basketball Prospectus: 50.5 wins, 2nd
John Hollinger (ESPN Insider): 45 wins, 6th
Jason Walker of Peachtree Hoops: 47 wins
Matt Moore of NBC’s ProBasketballTalk: 43 wins
Zach Harper of CBSSports’s Eye On Basketball: 43 wins
Ball Don’t Lie of Yahoo: 45 wins
Zach Lowe of Grantland: 4th or 5th
Tom Ziller of SBNation: 8th
The final standings of the Hawks in the Eastern Conference has a high variance from 2nd to 8th however it seems a likely consensus is around the 6th seed. Of course, it is difficult to measure the Hawks solely by this because of it being so dependent on how the other teams in the East perform. Most who weighed in on the wins predicted either 43 or 45 wins with a couple of loftier outliers. I’ll peg the consensus at a 45-37 record. For comparison, last year’s 40-26 record would be 50-32 prorated over an 82 game schedule.
A 5 win drop off despite bringing in a number of impressive shooters to replace Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams? Here’s to exceeding expectations for the upcoming NBA season.