ESPN places Hawks No. 9 in updated NBA power rankings


As we head into another NBA season, things are feeling a little different for the Atlanta Hawks. After being part of the ‘Delete 8’ that wasn’t invited to the 2020 bubble, a Trae Young All-Star snub (the game was in Atlanta, no less) and being picked against by experts repeatedly in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, the Hawks have finally garnered national attention after their run to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Hawks have 19 national TV games this upcoming season, and continue to get increased respect nationally. The latest evidence is the Hawks being ranked in the top 10 of ESPN’s updated NBA power rankings. Atlanta comes in at No. 9, just behind the Miami Heat.

Atlanta is poised to attack 2021-22 with much of the same group that powered them on the deepest postseason run in franchise history earlier this Summer. The addition of Delon Wright to the rotation should patch the Hawks’ biggest roster hole from last season, backup point guard, while Gorgui Dieng will man the backup center minutes while second-year center Onyeka Okonwgu rehabs from a torn labrum in his shoulder.

On the wing, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish should all be healthy heading into training camp, though Hunter is still rehabbing the knee injury that knocked him out of the playoffs after the first-round series win over the New York Knicks.

Young and John Collins are back with lucrative extensions, and Clint Capela is also back to hold down the fort in the middle. All things considered, Atlanta could be in line from some internal improvement given all the injuries they dealt with last season. If the guys they have can stay on the court a bit more, we could see some natural growth.

Stay tuned.