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2012 NBA power rankings: Atlanta Hawks still a top-10 team

Despite trading away a ton of payroll and scoring in Joe Johnson, the Atlanta Hawks will still contend in the Eastern Conference this season, if the preseason Power Rankings are to be believed.

Kevin C. Cox

Despite trading its supposed best player in the offseason in the form of Joe Johnson and unloading a ton of payroll in the process, the Atlanta Hawks are not in a rebuilding year. In fact, they're still a top-10 team in the league, if SB Nation's Power Rankings are to be believed.

Seth Rosenthal puts the Hawks at No. 10 in the rankings leading up to Tuesday night's season opener between the Heat and Celtics, two of the only three Eastern Conference teams ahead of Atlanta in the rankings (along with the No. 7 Indiana Pacers). Rosenthal writes that new general manager Danny Ferry's offseason moves could leave Atlanta in contention, despite the perception by some that the team is playing for next year after trading Johnson and Marvin Williams:

"Josh Smith is playing for a contract, Al Horford's chest has been reassembled, and they compensated for the loss of Joe Johnson by adding Devin Harris and ALL of the shooters."

CBS Sports and ESPN.com like the Hawks slightly less in their Power Rankings. Each site placed Atlanta at No. 13, but still among the best of a weaker Eastern Conference.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.