The 2021-22 NBA season is now less than a month away, so it’s that time of the year where ESPN and other national outlets dole out their respective top-100 lists of players. ESPN has released nearly all of their top 100, which includes six Atlanta Hawks players. Let’s take a look at which Hawks cracked the top 100.
No. 99, Danilo Gallinari, F
Danilo Gallinari isn’t in his prime anymore, but he can still light it up when he’s rolling. He is capable of record-setting type single-game shooting performances (his 10 threes made vs. the Boston Celtics in a game last season is a Hawks record), and was rather efficient over the course of the whole season also (shot over 40% from three yet again). He feels the game at an elite level offensively and remains savvy on defense despite his lack of mobility.
No. 95, Kevin Huerter, G
Kevin Huerter put himself on the map for good last season, capping off what was a solid third year in the league with an outstanding postseason run. The peak of his career to this point was the 27-point Game 7 in Philadelphia that seems to have effectively crumbled the Ben Simmons era with the 76ers. A high-level offensive guard, Huerter has shown enough on defense to warrant being considered one of the 100 best.
No. 64, Bogdan Bogdanovic, G/F
Bogdan Bogdanovic ironically ranked No. 64 on SI’s list as well. If he played a full season last year, he’d probably be a bit higher. Still, he was a top-5 (at worst) shooter in the game after March 1, and the backcourt of he and Trae Young has the potential to be downright explosive any given night.
No. 55, Clint Capela, C
Clint Capela was the main reason the Hawks were able to go from one of the worst defensive teams in 2019-20 to pretty competent in 2020-21. His durability, prowess on the glass (led NBA in rebound rate) and quaterbacking of the Hawks’ defense was crucial to the leap they made as a team.
No. 54, John Collins, F
John Collins is probably a top 45ish player in the league, and he is now paid accordingly. Big men who don’t dominate on the block can be underrated when they do as many other things at such a high level like Collins does. He’s an elite finisher, great shooter at his position and has shown to be an improved and more versatile defender.
No. 17, Trae Young, G
Young also came in at No. 17 on SI’s list. The fourth-year guard has signed his max-extension, seemingly locking him into Atlanta for the foreseeable future. The star will have All-NBA on his mind this season as it has significant financial implications in regard to converting his newly inked contract into super-max territory. Oh, and he probably won’t get left off All-Star again.
One interesting omission from the list is De’Andre Hunter, who came in at No. 56 for SI. ESPN may have decided not to include him just because of how much time he missed last season due to injury, but nonetheless it feels safe that Hunter will be a top-100 guy if he’s anything close to what he was for the first 20 games or so last season for Atlanta.
Training camp opens Sept. 28, and the Hawks play their first preseason game in Miami vs. the Heat on Oct. 4.
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