ESPN projects Atlanta Hawks for 41 wins in 2014-2015 NBA Preview


Various pundits have weighed in on the Atlanta Hawks in advance of the 2014-2015 regular season, but with the opener little more than a week away, the worldwide leader in sports has shared their opinion. Tom Haberstroh of ESPN Insider (subscription required) has profiled the Hawks and their upcoming season, and in his season preview, he assigns the team a 41-41 record with a fourth-place finish in the Southeast Division to go along with the seventh seed in the East.

In addition to calling Atlanta a “pretty solid team”, here are some of Haberstroh’s thoughts on the Hawks:

"Exasperated Hawks supporters can think of Horford as their big acquisition this summer after he missed most of last season with his second pectoral injury in three years. Horford is one of the best sweet-shooting big men in the game and a prime candidate to expand his range to the 3-point line like Millsap did last season. There have been whispers that Horford was working on it before he was sidelined, which makes sense in Budenholzer’s 3-heaving system.The SCHOENE projection model expresses skepticism over Horford’s ability to play a full season, which drags Atlanta’s projected win total to just 40 wins. In the dreadful East, that will probably be good enough for a playoff spot. Blending with similarly bearish RPM projections, you can pencil in the Hawks for about a .500 season in 2014-15. With a front office in a managerial tailspin and a shallow talent pool on the court, the Hawks aren’t a good bet to take flight this season."

As referenced above, there are several prediction systems (i.e. SCHOENE) that are forced to take Horford’s recent injury history into account, but if Atlanta’s best player manages to stay healthy for anything approaching a full season, 41 wins seems extremely low. Mike Budenholzer’s system of placing shooting at all five positions is well-documented, but if the center spot is occupied by one of the best in the game in Horford, that would be a coup for Atlanta on the whole.

This isn’t the first time that a major media outlet projected the Hawks for a low-40’s win total (or even worse), but what do you think about the upcoming season? Are the Atlanta Hawks ready to make the leap to competing with the East’s upper echelon? Let us at ATL All Day know your reaction in the comments below.