Atlanta Hawks: Capela, Collins among five ranking from #54-99 on Top-100

Atlanta Hawks, Clint Capela, John Collins. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks, Clint Capela, John Collins. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Hawks have been getting more recognition this offseason for the turnaround they’ve undergone in recent years. Three straight seasons of fewer than 30 wins gave way to a major breakout last season as they made their way to the Eastern Conference Finals despite being a young roster with a lot of injuries.

For that, several players have already been rewarded with extensions with more expected to soon join them.

Ahead of training camps next week, ESPN has released half of its top-100 list, and five Hawks players were among the roughly 11 percent of NBA players to grace it. From lowest to highest, Danilo Gallinari, Kevin Huerter, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Clint Capela, and John Collins all appear.

Five Atlanta Hawks make part one of ESPN’s top-100 list ahead of next season

Gallinari’s appearance at 99th could come as a surprise to some. He’s coming off of his lowest-scoring season since 2015, appeared in his fewest games since 2018, and started his fewest contests since his rookie season. But he showed his worth throughout the Hawks run last season and came up huge in the postseason.

Also remember, as the list states, Kawhi Leonard and Jamal Murray were excluded from the list due to injuries. That would push Gallo and Portland’s Norman Powell off of the list and into the ether, so to speak.

Checking at 95th on the list, Huerter’s ascension has been fascinating to watch as a player who entered the league billed as a shooter, very much in the mold of a Kyle Korver.

He’s proven to be far better than that.

During last season and the playoffs, Huerter (95th) took over primary ball-handler duties, guarded the other team’s best player, and, of course, showed off his killer scoring with 27 points to send a tough Philly team home. And he did so while making a very un-Korver-like 2-of-4 the triples he attempted.

The good vibes continue with Bogdanovic ranking 64th. Seeking to prove he is “one of the best shooters in the league” this season, he knocked down a career-high 43.8 percent of his shot from beyond the arc.

It was the third straight season the 29-year-old improved from deep.

Things get interesting with Collins and Capela ranking back-to-back at 54th and 55th, respectively.

Related Story. How much of Collins’ effectiveness depends on Capela?. light

The issue isn’t necessarily the rankings themselves, though there are some things that seem to have been overlooked. Primarily that Capela led the NBA in rebounding last season and finished third among centers in All-Defensive Team voting. Collins’ 17.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists with 1.0 blocks put him on a list that only included Kevin Durant last season.

Both should probably have made the top-50, but we’ll wait to see how that shakes out before too much hand-wringing over that part.

However, sitting at 51st is one Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings. What’s most peculiar about their placing him above either of Capela or Collins (or many others for that matter) is that he suffered from a statistical decline similar to Collins. Except Hield’s team didn’t win more and didn’t add a player of Capela’s caliber.

How much better will the bench be this season?. dark. Next

It’s an odd choice indeed. But it does go to Bogdanovic’s point he made to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic in an interview where he said the Hawks are still being overlooked. At least from the looks of this list, that appears to be partially true. We’re still waiting to see Trae Young’s ranking.