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Atlanta Hawks ping-pong chronicles: March 12

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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.

2016 NBA Draft Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

For the Atlanta Hawks, these last 15 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 fluctuating lottery position and also the status of the other two first round selections owed to the Hawks by Minnesota and Houston.

Hawks Draft Position

It has finally happened. The Hawks have officially been eliminated from the NBA Playoffs for the first time since 2007. So with no Tragic Number to track anymore, this section of the ping-pong chronicles will be dedicated to the Hawks constantly changing position in the lottery. As of right now, Atlanta sits at a tie for the third worst record in the NBA. Tankathon.com gives them a 42.3% chance at securing a top-3 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and a 13.7% chance at snagging the number one overall pick. Atlanta’s chances at a top pick will be up to the play of Memphis and Phoenix who currently sit in front of them at 18 and 19 wins respectively.

Hawks upcoming schedule

Atlanta’s schedule will only get so much worse from now to the end of the season. Atlanta will face the likes of Oklahoma City, Golden State, Houston and the Timberwolves over the last 10 games in March. 12 of the Hawks 15 remaining games overall are against teams that are currently in the NBA Playoff picture which should firmly secure the Hawks within the top 10 NBA Draft picks.

There is an actual chance that the Hawks will not win another game this season and they most likely will not be favored in a game going forward. Atlanta’s next game against the Thunder will be much more difficult if starting shooting guard Kent Bazemore is ruled out after sustaining a knee injury in Sunday’s loss against the Bulls.

Minnesota and Houston pick status

Atlanta continues to hold the second-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 135.42 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. Minnesota’s pick is protected for selections 1-14 in the Draft which means the team would need to make the Playoffs for the pick to convey. Minnesota managed to beat the Warriors yesterday in a stunner which is huge for a team slated to get Jimmy Butler back soon.

The pick would currently convey as the 20th 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. Minnesota is about to begin a seriously difficult “murderers row” lineup of games against current playoff teams. Their saving grace may be that they finish the season with two games against the Grizzlies, one game against the Hawks and two games against the Nuggets who are one of the teams nipping at their heels in Playoff positioning.

Recently, 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 with a magical 17 game win streak. 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 demolished the Mavericks to re-take the one seed in the NBA standings meaning that the pick would currently convey at the 30th pick.

Other teams at the bottom

Atlanta’s own pick positioning will be majorly influenced by the status of those teams that currently surround the Hawks 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 18-48 record. The Grizzlies were torched by the Mavericks in their most recent game in a battle between basement teams. Memphis is back in action tonight against the playoff hungry Bucks in what should be a tough matchup for the struggling Grizzlies.

Phoenix, with the second worst record in the NBA, dropped their fifth straight game to the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday and will draw another tough game against the Cavaliers tomorrow night. Phoenix too has a horrific schedule to end the season with three (!) matches against the Warriors still to come.

The aforementioned Dallas Mavericks won big against the Grizzlies on Saturday but couldn’t catch a break on Sunday on the second day of a back-to-back against the Rockets, who simply picked them apart. Dallas has another lottery match-up with the Knicks tomorrow night that surely all lottery bound teams will be watching.

Brooklyn, who moved back ahead of Atlanta in the standings after beating the Hornets on Thursday couldn’t pull off the upset against the young 76ers on Sunday. The Nets will return to action tomorrow night against the Eastern Conference leading Toronto Raptors.

Orlando is tied with Atlanta at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings as they come into play against the Spurs tomorrow night in a game that San Antonio will be desperate to win after struggling of late.

What is your favorite memory from the Hawks 10-season long Playoff streak? Let us know in the comments below and as always stay tuned for tomorrow’s update to the Hawks Ping-Pong Chronicles!