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NBA power rankings 2012: Hawks on the cusp of elite status

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The Atlanta Hawks find themselves on the verge of being considered elite. What do NBA writers have to say about them in the power rankings this week?

USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks are so close to being considered among the elite teams of the NBA, but they are just outside of that status. Seth Rosenthal has the Hawks ranked No. 8 in the SB Nation NBA Power Rankings. John Hollinger of ESPN.com has the Hawks ranked at No. 10 in his power rankings.

In Marc Stein's NBA power rankings, the Hawks are ranked at No. 8. Stein believes that despite the losses to the Miami Heat and the Golden State Warriors, the Hawks' defense has still kept them as a good story early this season:

The Hawks bookended last week with L's in the games that meant most, first dropping a divisional showdown in Miami and ultimately getting routed at home by scorching Golden State. Yet they remain a top-five defensive team, to uphold their status as one of the season's big early surprises.

For CBSSports.com, Matt Moore has the Hawks ranked at No. 8 as well. He expressed surprise at how the season has turned out given what they gave up in the offseason:

Wow, trading their franchise player for expiring contracts worked out a little different than expected.

For Pro Baskteball Talk, Kurt Helin also has the Hawks ranked at No. 8. Helin says that while the Heat disappointed in losses to the Heat and Warriors, they have opportunities this week against better NBA teams:

They lost to the Heat and Warriors last week, following their pattern of struggling against better teams. Thunder, Sixers and Bulls on the schedule this week to provide some tests.

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