Who are the most crucial Atlanta Hawks players? Part 2

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(Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images)

Raise your cups, NBA fans! The 2013-2014 season is upon us!

Some teams are entering the NBA New Year with aspirations of challenging the Miami Heat for league supremacy (Pacers, Bulls, Clippers); some with a goal of making the playoffs (Bucks, Pistons); some are hoping to lose enough games to get the top pick in next summer’s draft (76’ers, Suns). And, your Atlanta Hawks? What about their goals for this season?  Well, that depends on who you ask.

There are a wide range of outlooks for the Atlanta Hawks as we near the 2013-2014 tip-off. Some see them as a surprise team that will turn heads in the Eastern Conference. Others think they may jettison their roster and set their sights on this summer’s draft and beyond. There is no consensus feel for this team. The Atlanta Hawks are revamped with several new faces. Of the 15 Hawks on the opening night roster, eight of them are new to Atlanta. Also, two Hawks mainstays, Josh Smith and Zaza Pachullia, will be suiting up for new teams this year. So, most NBA writers, experts, and bloggers are unsure where the team stands entering the new season.

Last season’s Atlanta Hawks team won 44 games. I’ve set that as the benchmark for this year’s team. For this Hawks team to equal or surpass the 2012-2013 team’s number of wins, certain Hawks players will need to step up their game.

In Part 1 of this two-part countdown, I ranked players 15-8, in terms of their importance to achieving or passing last season’s wins total. Now, we’re down to the final seven.

Remember: this is not a ranking of which Hawks players are the best or most talented. Instead, it is a ranking for which players production will be most crucial to the team’s success this seson. 

And without further ado, players 7-1….