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Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Updated: September 24, 10:39 AM ET
No. 89: Atlanta Hawks

By Carl Carchia
ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 94
Title track: 110
Ownership: 105
Players: 115
Fan relations: 108
Stadium experience: 89
Bang for the buck: 22

Talk about false advertising. In June -- following GM Danny Ferry's jettisoning of Joe Johnson's bloated contract last summer -- the salary-cap-rich Hawks boasted grand intentions in an ill-advised letter to season-ticket holders: "Player interest is skyrocketing as the possibilities of landing Chris Paul & Dwight Howard become more and more of a reality," it read. Not only did they fail to land either superstar, but the team admitted to being fined for tampering. It's no wonder the Hawks' ranking in the fan relations category remains in the dumps.

Six straight playoff appearances help the team's bang for the buck ranking, but with fans growing tired of Josh Smith's erratic play (he's now in Detroit) and a bunch of teammates on expiring contracts last year, the Hawks ranked a ghastly 115th in players. A much-needed morale boost would come faster with a lottery pick from the loaded 2014 draft class (the Hawks haven't had a lottery pick since 2007), but that's unlikely. The under-the-radar signings of Paul Millsap and Elton Brand, combined with stud forward Al Horford and emerging guard Jeff Teague, mean they could be decent. But Hawks fans remain apathetic: Atlanta has been second worst in terms of attendance (80.8 percent full) among playoff teams two years running. The good news: They're the fifth-cheapest attraction in the league ($53.58 per game). Then again, if a tree falls in the woods ...