Even before the draft, this Hawks core was recognized as one of the very best young groups in the Association. Everyone in Atlanta knows how special this Hawks team was that unexpectedly came within two games of the Finals, but the outside world is starting to take notice. Bleacher Report’s Mo Dakhil recently did a power ranking of every NBA team’s three-year window, which resulted in the Hawks being slotted seventh.
Hawk fans have to get themselves some sunglasses because their future is very bright. After a surprising run to the Eastern Conference Finals, one thing Atlanta cannot lose sight of is that past success does not guarantee future success.
Trae Young is a budding star with a great cast around him. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Huerter, Danilo Gallinari, Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter have shown to be a truly capable supporting cast, even able to win games without Young. Most importantly, everyone is signed for the next two seasons minimum.
Atlanta would get even deeper if it re-signs John Collins, but that may not be a lock considering he turned down a $90 million extension before the season started. Even if he walks, the Hawks can move Gallinari into the starting lineup, and second-year player Onyeka Okongwu can help to fill some of that void off the bench.
The Hawks are in a good position to capitalize on their postseason success since almost everyone is expected to be back next season. This could be the start of a new power rising in the South.
Travis Schlenk has mainly built this team through the draft but rounded out the roster through last offseason’s free agency. This team isn’t top-heavy, talent is scattered throughout, and the window for championships is wide open. These rankings are where the teams currently stand and where they will be in three years with the criteria of roster construction, cap management, draft equity, and overall place in the league. Using those parameters, the Hawks ranking is a bit low, in my opinion.
The Celtics were ranked ahead of the Hawks, with only Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown as Boston’s young core. Utah was another team ranked ahead of Atlanta for similar reasons, but the question remains, do these teams have the depth of talent Atlanta does?. The Hawks’ core Dakhil mentioned doesn’t even consider the fact Schlenk brought John Collins back and Cam Reddish‘s emergence. This piece was done before the draft, so it doesn’t consider Atlanta’s most recent draft pick — Jalen Johnson. The former Duke Blue Devil won’t be relied on in Atlanta nearly as much as he would on other teams, so his development can take as long as it needs. He’s a boom or bust prospect, given his incredibly high ceiling.
The Hawks have one of the deepest rosters in the Association, with an ascending and borderline top ten player in Trae Young. There really is no reason this team isn’t in the top five of every projection rankings.
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