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Atlanta Hawks ping-pong chronicles: March 10

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For the final stretch of games this season, Peachtree Hoops will be covering Atlanta’s daily changes in draft position along with keeping tabs on the teams that owe the Hawks 2018 draft picks.

2007 NBA Draft Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

For the Atlanta Hawks, these last 16 games of the 2018 season are pivotal in the determination of the 2018 NBA Draft positioning. Coming down the stretch and into the draft lottery, Peachtree Hoops will be doing a daily update breaking down Atlanta’s dwindling Tragic Number and also the status of the other two first round selections owed to the Hawks by Minnesota and Houston.

Hawks Tragic Number

The Hawks now sit at a 20-46 record, which is tied for the worst mark in the Eastern Conference with the Orlando Magic, as the team comes into play against the Pacers tonight. The Hawks “Tragic Number” which is the number of games Atlanta would have to lose or that teams currently in the Eastern Conference Playoff picture would need to win to eliminate the Hawks from the Playoffs has dropped to just 2 after losing to the Pacers last night.

Atlanta had already been eliminated from being able to win the first, second, third and fourth seeds in the Eastern Conference Playoffs and were eliminated from winning the fifth seed after losing to Indiana.

The Hawks could be eliminated from the playoffs completely with a loss tomorrow paired with Toronto and Cleveland wins.

Hawks upcoming schedule

After tough recent matchups with the Raptors and Pacers, the Hawks will be getting no relief going forward. The Hawks will be back at home for an important matchup against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday that could be pivotal in deciding Atlanta’s draft position, as Chicago is right there with Atlanta in the mix at the bottom of the league standings.

Minnesota and Houston pick status

Atlanta continues to hold the 2nd most valuable array of draft selections according to tankathon.com’s composite draft score ratings. Phoenix, the only other team that currently controls three first round picks besides the Hawks, currently sits ahead of Atlanta’s composite draft score of 145.45 with a score of 184.40.

The Hawks are also keeping a close eye on the Timberwolves and Rockets records since Atlanta owns both Houston’s and Minnesota’s first round picks if everything falls into place. The Timberwolves pick is protected for selections 1-14 in the Draft and with Jimmy Butler still on the mend things are beginning to go downhill for Minnesota quickly in the tight race that is the Western Conference Playoff standings.

With Minnesota losing their most recent game against the Celtics things are getting too close for comfort. The pick would currently convey as the 19th selection in the Draft since the Timberwolves are still in the Playoff picture, but with the T-Wolves holding the third most difficult remaining schedule in the entire league it looks as though the pick conveying could come down to the wire. Not to mention Minnesota is about to begin a seriously difficult “murderers row” lineup of games against current playoff teams.

Peachtree Hoops very own Glen Willis went more in depth regarding the Timberwolves pick owed to the Hawks and it is a great read for fans interested in learning more.

In better news, the pick owed to the Hawks by the Houston Rockets has now officially conveyed after the Rockets clinched a playoff berth last night in the Pelicans loss to the Wizards. It will become important to see if it falls at the 30th pick or the 29th as the Rockets and Warriors are neck-and-neck at the top of the West.

However, it is comforting to know that the Hawks will now for sure have at least two first round picks in the coming 2018 NBA Draft. Houston’s next game will be Sunday against the lowly Mavericks who sit with the Hawks at the bottom of the NBA standings.

Other teams at the bottom

The Hawks own pick positioning will be majorly influenced by the status of those teams that currently surround Atlanta at the bottom of the standings. Here are updates on the teams that are currently behind Atlanta in the league standings.

The worst team in the NBA continues to be Memphis at an 18-47 record. The Grizzlies lost their most recent game against the Utah Jazz moving their losing streak to 16 games. Memphis has a big game coming against the Mavericks today that could really shake things up at the bottom of the league.

Phoenix, who became the first team to enter the Draft Lottery after being eliminated from Playoff contention on Monday, lost to the Thunder in their last game and will play the Hornets tonight in a game they have a good chance to be competitive in.

Dallas, who won their last game against the Nuggets, moved ahead of Atlanta by tiebreaker in the standings to the 6th worst record and will have a huge game tonight as already mentioned against the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies remain to be the only team in the NBA at 18 wins.

Brooklyn, who moved back ahead of Atlanta in the standings after beating the Hornets on Thursday will get a two day break before their next game against the 76ers tomorrow. Brooklyn winning games matters big time since they do not own their first round pick which is instead owned by Cleveland.

Orlando moved back behind Atlanta in the standings after losing to the Kings in their last game. Sacramento winning their 21st game of the season pushed them higher up the NBA standings and out of the 5 way tie at 20-45.

The Hawks will make sure to keep a close eye on the game between Memphis and Dallas tonight and the constant shifting of teams at the bottom of the playoffs in the Western Conference. As always stay tuned for tomorrows update to the Hawks Ping-Pong Chronicles!