Atlanta Hawks ranked 15th in preseason ESPN power rankings


The NBA regular season is just one day away, and ATL All Day recently unveiled a multi-part season preview for the Atlanta Hawks. In that space, we weighed in on the preseason hopes and dreams of the on-court product, and on Monday, Marc Stein of ESPN followed suit to some degree by unveiling his preseason NBA power rankings.

Stein appears to be relatively high on the Hawks compared to national perception, and here is what he had to say about the team while rankings Atlanta 15th overall:

"Al Horford didn’t look great in the preseason, but just seeing him on the floor was a serious lift for a franchise that certainly needed one after its tumultuous offseason. I’d go so far as to say I see Atlanta as a sleeper in the East. And here’s the proof: Mike Budenholzer got my preseason COY nod"

The Hawks are ranked ahead of the Miami Heat (16th), but behind both the Washington Wizards (11th) and Charlotte Hornets (13th) among teams in the NBA’s Southeast Division. Still, this projection from Marc Stein would be good enough for the number six seed in the Eastern Conference, trailing only the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors in addition to the aforementioned division rivals, and that is a bit of a hat-tip in favor of Atlanta.

It would be accurate to describe Al Horford’s play as uneven in the preseason, as he averaged just 8.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in limited action, but as referenced above, his mere presence is a fantastic sight. We have long been fans of Mike Budenholzer in this space, and there will likely be more accolades headed his way if the Hawks can remain healthy enough to make a real dent in the Eastern Conference during the 2014-2015 season.

What is your impression of Marc Stein’s rankings for ESPN? Are they too optimistic about the Atlanta Hawks? Let us know in the comments below to continue the discussion.