On the strength of a five-game winning streak, the Atlanta Hawks are starting to get some recognition in various NBA power rankings. After landing a No. 8 ranking in the SB Nation NBA power rankings on Monday, the Hawks found themselves ranked No. 10 in John Hollinger's NBA power rankings on ESPN.com.
What may have prevented the Hawks from rising further could be that their strength of schedule is the second weakest in the top 10 at .475, only better than the San Antonio Spurs' which is at .448. In Eric Stein's NBA power rankings, also on ESPN.com, he has the Hawks ranked at No. 7, up two spots from last week. Stein acknowledges the Hawks' weak schedule, but also says that their defense has kept the Hawks improving:
The Hawks have risen to No. 1 in the league in defensive efficiency. And they likewise climb in our top 10, in spite of a mostly soft schedule, thanks to a home win over the Clips that -- even with L.A. on the second night of a back-to-back -- still looks pretty nice beside Atlanta's recent W at OKC.
On the NBA.com power rankings, compiled by John Schuhmann, the Hawks are now ranked at No. 7, up six spots from No. 13 last week. Schuhmann also says that their defense has improved and their winning streak means a bit more because of a win against the Los Angeles Clippers:
When you beat the Kings, Magic, Wizards and Bobcats, your four-game winning streak is a little hollow. But when you extend it to five with an easy win over the Clippers, we take notice. The streak has vaulted the Hawks to the No. 1 spot in defensive efficiency, and they should stay there with only home games against the Cats and Cavs on the schedule over the next nine days.
On the Fox Sports NBA power rankings, Sam Amico gave the Hawks the biggest boost in the standings that week, rising five spots to No. 7. He says that the team has been able to play well thanks to Al Horford being available at a moment's notice:
Surviving without Joe Johnson just fine, thank you very much. Probably because Al Horford has always been the modern-day Hawks' best player.