The Atlanta Hawks rise slightly in the ESPN power rankings

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports /

ESPN has released their offseason power rankings and the level of respect for the Atlanta Hawks is improving but NBA pundits still need to understand what this team has done. This year’s offseason has been a potential franchise changer for the Hawks and the NBA is yet to catch on to this.

Fortunately, ESPN has realized that the Hawks have improved, moving them from 19th in the league after the finals to 15th in the league post offseason. Personally, the trade which landed Dejounte Murray pushes the Hawks closer to the top-ten but that will unfold as the season starts.

So, who are the teams that the Hawks have leaped over with the offseason moves? Well, they have jumped above the New Orleans Pelicans, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Los Angeles Lakers. tTey are also improved against the Utah Jazz who was 14th, who is now down in 25th. The Toronto Raptors were in the 15th slot and they have moved up to the 12th seed.

Examining the teams around the Atlanta Hawks in the power rankings.

The Hawks are ranked behind the Chicago Bulls who did not make any big moves over the offseason. Given that the two teams met when the Hawks were in the middle of their Covid-19 crisis, it is difficult to see how far apart the two teams are. With the addition of Murray, it is easy to see the Hawks moving past the Bulls this season.

Then, in the 13th seed are the Brooklyn Nets. They have the potential to have such fractured chemistry thanks to the offseason that they are potentially going to be less of a team. Still, there is plenty of talent on the squad but the Hawks should go past the Nets this season.

The team which provides the biggest hurdle for the Hawks making into the top-ten right at the start of the season is the Toronto Raptors. They are well-coached and have the relevant pieces, and as Scottie Barnes continues to develop, he could take the Raptors anywhere this season.

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The Minnesota Timberwolves are a team who have added a fairly major piece. How Rudy Gobert works with Karl-Anthony Town is going to decide whether the Hawks can pass the Timberwolves on the power rankings.