Four Hawks rank inside The Athletic’s Top 37-79 players in the NBA

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The Athletic is releasing their annual NBA Player Rankings, and in tier four, several familiar faces make appearances:

Seth Partnow goes on to break down his ranking system like this:

Players in Tier 4 will typically produce six to eight wins per season, worth contracts in the low $20s in annual millions. They tend to fall into three groups: stars of the recent past who have aged out of All-Star-level play but are still extremely productive, those on the way up who haven’t quite reached those exalted heights and the very best role players who bring all the little complimentary skills top stars sometimes overlook. There is also a fourth type of player who falls into this group: the best who might be termed “82-game players.” These, for whatever reason, can carry a team to a lot of regular-season wins but for whatever reason can’t transfer that impact to the playoffs. For those up-and-comers who never quite break through into “star” status, those postseason foibles are often the reason.

Seth breaks this down into sub-tiers, which I’ll explain below:


Wing almost-stars


G Bogdan Bogdanović

In the case of … Bogdan Bogdanovic, we need to see a higher overall level of involvement considering his surprisingly low 21.6 career usage rate.

In a way, this group represents the entire purpose behind this sort of comparative exercise; if a player at this level is a team’s second-best player, he probably isn’t going anywhere. Third-best and it could go either way. Fourth-best and now we’re cooking. At present, Bogdan Bogdanovic appears most likely to be able to slot into that kind of role should some of the young Hawks continue to take steps forward, while the other two have been relied upon perhaps a little too much to the detriment of their current team’s postseason progress.

On the rise


F John Collins

F De’Andre Hunter

John Collins was tremendously impressive in his own first playoff run, with performances suggesting that he just might be able to operate as the kind of floor-spacing small-ball five who can be so valuable closing playoff games.

Placing De’Andre Hunter this high is a big callas he had a rough rookie campaign. His second season showed dramatic improvements in all facets of the game, with the development of his ball-in-hands offense being particularly impressive. But he was also hurt for a good portion of the season, so placing him this high is, to some degree, extrapolating from a small sample.

Not quote elite bigs

C Clint Capela

Clint Capela remains the perfect archetype of the modern rim-protecting, dive-and-dunk center. No other player was more responsible for Atlanta’s leap forward defensively than Capela, whose shot blocking and defensive rebounding formed the basis both for the Hawks’ defensive scheme as well as their transition attack going back the other way.

As everyone here at SportsTalkATL has continually stated; the Hawks have one of the deepest teams in the league, and these NBA player rankings are beginning to reflect that. Trae Young will land somewhere in the top 20 on this list — if not the top 10 — giving Atlanta five top 80 players. Their entire starting five is in the top 80. I don’t think there’s another team in the league that can say that, and you can’t even stop there with the Hawks, as they have one of the best second units in the NBA as well. Kevin Huerter and Danilo Gallinari — to bench players for Atlanta — were each listed inside the top 125 players. This team is poised to compete for championships for a long time.


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