20 Jul Atlanta Hawks: 100-1
We make a big jump one I am not afraid to say does not feel nearly big enough.
Before Al Horford went with (another) torn pectoral final year, Mike Budenholzer’s birds were 16-13, appearing like the third-best team in the East. After losing its best player, Atlanta closed the year out with a 22-31 mark.
Obviously, since the East was the East, the Hawks still made the playoffs.
Horford is looking and healthy just fine in preseason play. Additionally, Paul Millsap is playing for a contract, Jeff Teague remains one of the league’s least appreciated talents and Thabo Sefolosha is in town to deliver some perimeter defense that is stifling.
Nobody is saying the Hawks are a bunch of world-beaters, however they feel like postseason locks. And they may very well finish one of the conference’s top four.
At the minimum, they will jack a lot of threes (only the Houston Rockets attempted more in 2013-14) and take care of the ball (Atlanta’s assist-to-turnover ratio had been second best at the East). That’s a recipe for success.
Do not sleep on the Hawks.
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