SAD NEWS: Stuck in the Lower Rungs of the NBA Power Rankings…..

Throughout the season, the Hawks have consistently performed below par, facing numerous injuries that have plagued their roster. Despite maintaining a 10th place standing in the NBA standings, with a record of 30-38, they are poised to secure the coveted 10th spot in the Eastern Conference, securing a chance in the play-in Tournament. According to’s John Schuhmann’s latest power rankings, the Hawks currently hold the 21st position. Schuhmann reflects on Atlanta’s position as the season draws to a close.

The Hawks encountered a challenging start to their recent five-game road trip, struggling in clutch situations and narrowly losing games against Portland and Utah. However, they bounced back emphatically in Los Angeles, decisively defeating the Clippers and bringing their record to .500 (8-8) in games played without Trae Young.

Here are three key takeaways:

1. The Hawks’ defense showed significant improvement during Young’s absence. Before the All-Star break, they allowed 121.3 points per 100 possessions in five games without Young, but over the subsequent 11-game stretch, they rank eighth, allowing only 109.8 points per 100 possessions. Their opponent effective field goal percentage in the paint also decreased notably from 60.6% to 54.3%, indicating improved interior defense. Despite facing a formidable opponent in the Clippers, the Hawks displayed defensive resilience.

2. Dejounte Murray has assumed a larger role in Young’s absence, and he has done so efficiently. His usage rate increased to 29.3%, accompanied by a true shooting percentage of 57.2% over the last 11 games without Young, compared to 24.4% and 56.1% respectively before. Murray’s proficiency in shooting pull-up 2-pointers has been particularly noteworthy, with a remarkable 56% success rate in the past 11 games, contributing to his season average of 51.1%, ranking him sixth among players with at least 100 pull-up 2-point attempts.

3. The Hawks face a challenging schedule ahead, with 10 of their remaining 15 games against teams with winning records. This presents a tougher road compared to the ninth-place Bulls, whom they trail by two games in the loss column. However, they have an opportunity to make ground with two upcoming home games against the Hornets, marking the beginning of a favorable five-game homestand, starting this Saturday.

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