Commentary

Hawks will be grounded

Atlanta leads a list of playoff teams likely to regress next season

Updated: April 25, 2011, 6:16 PM ET
By Kevin Pelton | Basketball Prospectus
Josh SmithKevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesJosh Smith is shining in the playoffs, but he might not be in Atlanta next season.

Last Friday, we took a look at five lottery teams on the rise which could make the playoffs next season. As those teams improve, inevitably some of the teams currently in the playoffs must go the opposite direction. Instead of looking just at teams which could slip out of the postseason picture, we've expanded our list to look at the playoff teams in order of likelihood of having their record drop off during the 2011-12 season.

1. Atlanta Hawks

Why they'll slip: While the Hawks won 44 games they were outscored on the season, and point differential is a better predictor of future record than wins and losses are.

Why they'll stay strong: Al Horford's successful run as a power forward in the postseason against the Orlando Magic may be the precursor to Horford moving to the position full-time.


To read more about why the Hawks, as well as the Spurs, Celtics and Mavericks, are likely to slip next season, you must be an ESPN Insider.