- Bradford Doolittle
There are always one or two projections spit out by SCHOENE before the season that raise more than a few eyebrows. One of the big ones this year was the forecast of the retooled Atlanta Hawks to rise just above the quagmire below the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference to land a No. 2 seed.
After a so-so start, the Hawks are threatening to make SCHOENE look pretty smart. Atlanta has won six straight, albeit against a soft group of opponents, to move a half-game behind the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets for second in the East.
Besides the easy schedule, what's changed? For one thing, Hawks head coach Larry Drew has proved to be very flexible when it comes to his rotation. He has more or less platooned between big and small lineups depending on the matchup, using Zaza Pachulia at center when the opponent has a top pivot.
Overall, though, Atlanta's lineups are trending small. Last week, just nine teams played smaller than the Hawks, which featured an average true position score of 2.88. For the season, Atlanta is at 2.94, which is right in the middle of the pack.
The Hawks have been getting smaller, and it's working.
Details on how the Big Man Barometer is compiled can be found here.
Top 10 Big Man Performances
(Week of Nov. 21-27) Players listed by winning percentage. Any player who played a total of at least 30 minutes at center or power forward last week is eligible for the rankings. Also included at the bottom are big man projections for next week.
Bradford Doolittle offers this week's Big Man Barometer, ranking the NBA's top power forwards and centers.