Sports Illustrated does an annual list of their top 100 players in the NBA. Heading into this season, 5 Atlanta Hawks made the list.
At number 74 came Tiago Splitter, the newly acquired center from San Antonio. Splitter was a great pick up for Atlanta, as he was acquired for virtually nothing in order to help the Spurs shed salary. Splitter dropped 4 spots from his spot last year, but expect him to play a bigger role in Atlanta than he did in San Antonio and move up this list next year.
Kyle Korver actually owned the spot Tiago Splitter currently hold coming into last season. However, after a stellar year by the sharpshooter and his first career all-star appearance, Korver moves up the list to number 46. Korver came up just percentage points shy of an unprecedented 50/50/90 season. He suffered a severe high ankle sprain in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals that ended his season. He had surgery on that ankle this off season and looks to be ready to begin the new year.
Coming in just in front of Kyle Korver at number 41 is Jeff Teague. Teague also was awarded with his first all-star appearance last year. He flew up this list from last year’s where he was ranked 92. However, his ranking this year still could be viewed as a little low. Look for Teague to continue to build off last season and move up this list.
Paul Millsap moved up two spots from last year to number 32. Millsap had another great all around year for Atlanta and earned his way to his second straight all-star appearance. There is no doubt Millsap has taken his game to the next level since coming to the Hawks. He is now one of the most versatile power forwards in the game an a match up nightmare for most other power forwards in the NBA.
The last Hawks player to be named on the list was Al Horford. Horford came in just outside the top 20 at number 21. He averaged 15.2 points and 7.2 rebound last season on his way to his third all-star appearance. Horford now has a full year under his belt since his pectoral injury that cost him most of the 2013-2014 season. Hopefully he can continue to get stronger and see an uptick in his numbers this upcoming season.
Former Hawks small forward Demarre Carroll also cracked the list for the first time in his career. The Junkyard Dog came in at number 81 on the list, as he heads to Toronto to start a new stage in his career.