ESPN ranks Atlanta Hawks as the 24th best team. Too high/low? Just right?
Less than 24 hours after the Los Angeles Lakers won the 2020 NBA championship, ESPN was looking forward to next season. They published a “way-too-early” edition of their power rankings, with the Atlanta Hawks coming in at 24.
“Too early” is almost an understatement here, as it’s borderline silly to rank teams before the draft and free agency, but I suppose these are more end of season rankings than future projections.
The rating itself seems pretty fair. Even with a fairly hot finish to their shortened season, the Hawks were never considered a top-20 team by the masses.
I’d certainly listen to arguments that the team should be higher than the Spurs, Wizards and Magic, however, even if those three did make the bubble. Those teams accomplished slightly more last season but I’d still like the Hawks’ roster on paper more.
Out of the eight teams to not make the Orlando bubble, Atlanta ranked the second-highest, only trailing the Warriors. Golden State essentially punted last season away after injuries piled up and should be back to being a powerhouse.
The 2021 Atlanta Hawks should be a prime candidate of a team ready to make the jump from rebuilding to contending, and it’s certainly going to be an interesting off-season. With the league’s most cap space, young assets needed to pull off a blockbuster trade and the sixth overall pick, the Hawks have a great opportunity to jump to (at least) the mid-teens of the rankings.
At the very least, it’ll be interesting to look back to these rankings midway through next season.
What did you think of the ESPN “way-too-early” power rankings? Where the Atlanta Hawks too low? Too high? Just right? Let us know on Twitter, @Soaringdwnsouth.