For the Atlanta Hawks, these last 14 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
The Hawks have finally 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 all alone for the third worst record in the NBA with the Orlando Magic. Tankathon.com gives them a 46.9% chance at securing a top-3 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and a 15.6% 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 ahead is brutal and, with the loss of Kent Bazemore, the Hawks best player, the team will most likely not be favored in any of the remaining games. Atlanta will face the likes of Milwaukee, Golden State, Houston and the Timberwolves over the last 8 games of March. 11 of the Hawks 14 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, at least when considering they likely won’t be favored (in Las Vegas) again. Atlanta’s game against the Thunder ended in a loss at the hands of Russell Westbrook who secured his 100th triple double of his career. Atlanta will be right back to work on Thursday against the Bucks in a game Milwaukee will be desperate to win after losing to the Magic last night.
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 140.80 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 continue their impressive play of late after beating the Wizards on Tuesday which is huge for a team fighting to secure a playoff berth in what has become one of the tightest Western Conference Playoff races ever.
The pick would currently convey as the 21st selection in the Draft since the Timberwolves are still in the Playoff picture and with a soft ending to the season consisting of 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 it is looking more likely now that the pick will still convey even after losing Jimmy Butler to injury. Minnesota is back in action against the Spurs on Saturday in a game that could really shake things up in the lower seeds of the Western Conference Playoff picture.
In even better news, the pick owed to the Hawks by the Houston Rockets has now officially conveyed after the Rockets clinched a playoff berth by way of 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 could do the Hawks a favor by defeating the Clippers in their game tonight, as Los Angeles is one of the teams in contention with the Timberwolves. Houston’s pick would now currently convey as the 30th selection.
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.
Memphis just continues to pile up the losses including 18 straight firmly entrenching them in the worst record in the entire league at 18-49. The Grizzlies were picked apart by the Bucks in their most recent game on Monday. Memphis is back in action tonight in a big game against the Bulls in what might be one of their few chances at getting a win for the rest of the season.
Phoenix, with the second worst record in the NBA, dropped their sixth straight game to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday and will draw another tough game against the Jazz tonight. Phoenix too has a horrific schedule to end the season with three (!) matches against the Warriors still to come.
Orlando was able to pull a huge upset last night over the Bucks which moves them into the fourth worst record alone and breaks their longtime tie with Atlanta at the third worst record. They will draw Boston at home on Friday night.
The Kings have moved into the sixth worst record slot after beating Miami in overtime last night. It was nice to see Sacramento’s young talent on display as De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield had huge nights. The Kings are back at it tomorrow night against the depleted Warriors.
Brooklyn, who lost to DeMar DeRozan and the Raptors Tuesday night, are now in sole possession of the fifth worst record. Brooklyn does not own their first round pick which is instead owned by the Cavaliers so the young Nets should actually be trying to win each game. They will play again tomorrow night in a rematch of Sunday’s game against the 76ers which they lost.
Dallas won their big matchup with the Knicks Tuesday night which catapults them into sole possession of the 7th worst record overall. Dallas will draw a tough game against the East leading Raptors in their next game tomorrow.
This game tonight against the Hornets might be one of the few real chances the Hawks will have to win for the rest of this season so make sure to tune in at 7:30 PM. As always, stay tuned for tomorrow’s update to the Hawks Ping-Pong Chronicles!