Atlanta Hawks: Eastern Conference Power Rankings, Nov. 26

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Nov 24, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) celebrates a play with guard Lamar Patterson (13) as Boston Celtics guard R.J. Hunter (28) is shown in the third quarter of their game at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 121-97. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

6. team. 81. . . Previous: . Toronto Raptors

The Raptors are definitely still a playoff team in the Eastern Conference. When you’ve won your division the last two years, you get the benefit of the doubt. Having PG Kyle Lowry and SG DeMar DeRozan as the starting backcourt only intensifies that logic.

Toronto is in the top ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency entering Thanksgiving. I knew that the Raptors would do well again offensively (4th in the NBA, 107.2), but defensively they’ve really stepped up their game (9th in the NBA, 102.5). However, it’s hard to know how good a team is when they are the best team in the worst division in the Eastern Conference. Toronto is better than the rest in the Atlantic, but how would they fare in the Central or Southeast hypothetically?

team. 125. . . Previous: . Atlanta Hawks. 5

The Atlanta Hawks are a good team in 2015-16, but by no means a great team in 2015-16. While having 10 wins this early is impressive, having 7 losses is not. It doesn’t help that 7 of the club’s 10 wins came during a winning streak immediately after losing their home opener to Detroit. Since the streak snapped, Atlanta has gone 3-6.

Injuries haven’t given the Hawks their full lineup for most of the year. SG Kyle Korver and SF Thabo Sefolosha were working their way back in slowly at the start of the year due to season-ending ankle injuries the year before. PG Jeff Teague missed time with an ankle injury. SF Kent Bazemore is still out with an ankle injury. What’s the deal with ankle injuries? At least C Tiago Splitter‘s is something differently (hip), but Atlanta needs to play at full strength to play its most effective brand of basketball. They haven’t been doing either in the first part of the 2015-16 NBA season.

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Previous: . Miami Heat. 4. team. 110. .

While I don’t believe that Miami is better than the Atlanta Hawks when both clubs are at full strength, at this moment Miami is playing at a slightly higher level. The starting five of the Heat is arguably the best in the Eastern Conference. It’s their bench and offensive plays that I don’t care for.

Defensively, they’re doing well under HC Erik Spoelstra (3rd in the NBA, 98.7). If Miami can improve on the offensive end (22nd in the NBA, 102.6), then the team could contend for an Eastern Conference Championship. However, I don’t see this team as a top ten team in both areas and that might keep them out of the title conversation.

Next: Tier I: Eastern Conference Championship Contenders