“The Future Power Rankings are ESPN Insider’s projection of the on-court success expected for each team in the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.
Consider this a convenient way to see the direction in which your favorite team is headed.”
ESPN asked a series of questions to it’s expert panel, which involves yours truly, to rank each team in the NBA based on the expectations over the next three season. These questions were based on roster, money, market, and the team’s management. Here is the article. (ESPN Insider required)
Now, I usually try not to get caught up in things like rankings, but something about this intrigued me. The Hawks fell three spots from the last time this survey was done, which was in August 2012. The biggest factor that took a hit was the management category, which fell from 13th down to 19th.
Now, a few things need to be clarified about this survey: more people participated than the last time it was done in August. For all I know, the question may have been different then as well. The survey was also completed BEFORE the Hawks hired Mike Budenholzer as head coach.
However, I have difficulty seeing how Atlanta’s management should be rated that low at this point. Even without counting the Budenholzer hiring, Danny Ferry has done a fantastic job as general manager. The ownership group appears to have settled after the selling of the Thrashers (RIP) and has empowered Ferry to run point on all decisions. I’m just unsure at how you look at teams like New Orleans (16th in management) or Philadephia (18th) and think, “Yeah, their front office is better than Atlanta’s right now.”
The Hawks also ranked 18th in market, but it’s not the ranking that I have as big of an issue with as it is the description.
“GM Danny Ferry will have to persuade players to come to a franchise that historically has struggled to draw fans, even when they’re winning…”
Uh… winning what, exactly? The Atlanta Hawks still haven’t even been to a Conference Finals, the team has won two second round GAMES over the past decade, and has only won their division once over the past 25 years. Throw in the fact that the team had an eight season stretch where they didn’t even make the playoffs… I mean, where do you expect the fans to come from? This isn’t purely an Atlanta thing, either. The Braves averaged about 40,000 fans a game in the 90s and the Falcons have been doing well recently. Simply put, when a team is actually winning, the fans will show up.
“…routinely sees bigger support for the visiting team.”
I usually think arguing semantics is a lame argument, but I can’t agree with this statement; it’s a cop out for the poorly constructed “ATLANTA HAS BAD FANS” meme. Nearly every city in the league has their arena invaded by Lakers, Celtics, Knicks, and “whatever team LeBron is on” fans. Even then, this isn’t always true; yes, I’m looking at all three Boston fans that showed up to Philips Arena the year before Kevin Garnett was traded to the Celtics. I appreciate your participation.
The Hawks have the best salary cap situation in the league, a stabilized and improved front office, and a couple of good pieces in Al Horford and Lou Williams. They may not have “contender” written over them for the next three seasons, but they definitely seem to have top 15 situation in the league over that time period. After another summer with Danny Ferry at the reigns, I see no reason why the Hawks couldn’t conceivably crack the top ten of this project.