Atlanta Hawks projected 10th in East by USA Today property


The Atlanta Hawks have officially begun training camp in advance of the 2014-2015 season, and for the most part, the public appears to be optimistic about the on-court product, especially when compared to the off-court turmoil of the off-season. However, has released a projection for the team, and the USA Today property pegs the Hawks as the 10th-ranked team in the Eastern Conference.

No, really. They did.

Here are the “weaknesses”, as laid out by the author of the piece above:

"Even with a healthy Horford, the Hawks are a tad undersized … If he keeps getting injured, Atlanta will be consistently outrebounded again … Horford has missed 116 regular season games in the last three seasons, so durability a huge concern with him … The Hawks were able to make up for the lack of talent with great team effort last season, but the shortage of talented players will be a bigger issue this year in an improved Eastern Conference … They just don’t have any elite player … Bench is average at best … No big-time three-point shooter outside of Korver … Constant turmoil in the franchise will not help matters."

Referencing the Hawks as “undersized” isn’t necessarily wrong, given their lack of a dominant 7-footer in a league that features quite a few, but other than that, it is tough to decipher another reasonable point. Al Horford has certainly missed 116 games, but the whole of his injury concerns are of the “fluke” variety, and durability is anything but a concern.

In addition, Atlanta boasts a bevy of talented players, arguably sporting a roster that features 14 NBA-ready options (and John Jenkins), and in terms of an “elite” player, Al Horford appears to fit the bill quite nicely, even if he is not among the game’s ten best single entities. The bench being “average at best” also reeks of over-simplification, as the aforementioned 9-member group features multiple players who have started in other stops, in addition to some fast-rising players (i.e. Kent Bazemore and Dennis Schroder).

Lastly, the piece from HoopsHype also features the following sentence about Al Horford:

"He would be better off at the power forward position."

On cue, Twitter exploded in defense of Horford as a true center, and to be honest, this statement probably doesn’t need additional glorification, except to say that Al Horford is an elite center, no matter his frame.

What do you think about this projection? Tell us in the comments!