For the Atlanta Hawks, these final six 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 with the third-worst record in the NBA. Tankathon.com gives them a 51.6% chance at securing a top-3 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft and a 17.8% chance at snagging the number one overall pick. Atlanta’s chances at the top pick will be up to the play of Phoenix, who are the only team in front of them, as well as Memphis, who sit tied with Atlanta for the second-worst record. Orlando as well are a team to watch as they sit just a game and a half ahead of the Hawks for the fourth-worst record. The Hawks have finally reached single digits in remaining games for 2018 and the final stretch will be no fun at all.
Hawks upcoming schedule
Atlanta’s last few games ahead are brutal and, with the loss of Kent Bazemore, the Hawks’ best player, the team will most likely not be winning in any of their remaining games. Atlanta faced a tough team in Philadelphia to finish off March and were unable to pull out the victory. Five of the Hawks six remaining games overall are against teams that are currently in the NBA Playoff picture, which should firmly secure the Hawks with good positioning to snag one of the top five NBA Draft picks.
The Hawks realistically only have one game left this season that they look to have a definite chance in (against Orlando today), considering they likely won’t be favored (in Las Vegas) again. The Hawks took the loss in Philadelphia Friday night as they faced the banged-up 76ers, who got a huge lift from Ben Simmons who posted a triple-double. Atlanta’s last best chance to win a game this season comes today when they face off against the Orlando Magic.
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, currently sits ahead of Atlanta’s composite draft score of 146.54 with a score of 191.30.
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 now sits as the fifth seed in the Western Conference Playoff race leading to some too-close-for-comfort feelings for the Hawks.
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 for Minnesota consisting of a game still to come against the Grizzlies, and two games against the Nuggets, who are one of the teams nipping at their heels in Playoff positioning, it is looking more likely than not that the pick will still convey, even after the Timberwolves lost Jimmy Butler to injury earlier this season. Minnesota’s magic number drops to 3 after they were able to pick up the win against the Mavericks as former Hawk Jamal Crawford turned in a great night on Friday.
In 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. The Rockets were able to clinch the one seed of the Western Conference last night and therefore lock the Hawks into the 30th pick in the draft.
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. Minnesota’s pick owed to the Hawks looks more and more likely to convey with each game.
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 Rockets managed to pick up the win against Phoenix Friday night in dramatic fashion to keep the Suns with a two game cushion for the worst record in the NBA. The Suns now are the only team below 20 wins in the NBA and own the best overall odds of nabbing the number one overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft lottery. Phoenix, like the Hawks, has a horrific schedule to end the season with two matches against the Warriors (albeit depleted) still to come. The Suns are back at it tonight against the aforementioned Warriors.
Memphis has surprised the league in the last few days by upsetting both the Timberwolves on Monday and the Blazers on Wednesday night, but could not upset the Jazz Friday night. The loss keeps the Grizzlies tied with the Hawks for the second-worst record in the NBA before their next game today against Portland.
The Orlando Magic were unable to beat the Bulls in a battle of Eastern Conference basement teams Friday night. The loss keeps Orlando right on Atlanta and Memphis’ heels with the fourth-worst record as they continue their long stretch of games against lottery teams tonight when they face the Hawks.
Dallas after winning against the Kings Tuesday night could not pull out the upset win against the Timberwolves Friday night. The Mavericks now sit in sole possession of the fifth-worst record going into play against the Cavaliers today.
Sacramento took the loss at the hands of the Warriors in Oakland last night as Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green suited up back from injuries. The Kings sit in sole possession of the sixth-worst record overall before their next game against the Lakers tonight.
The Nets were able to pick up a hard fought win against the Miami Heat last night boosting them into a tie with Chicago for the seventh-worst record. Brooklyn will be right back to work tonight against the Detroit Pistons.
Chicago managed to break their long losing streak with a win over the Magic Friday night catapulting them back into a tie for the seventh-worst record overall. Their next game is this afternoon against the Playoff bound Wizards.
With quite a few lottery teams in action today things could get interesting around the league as it seems March Madness is extending into the NBA of late. As always, stay tuned for tomorrow’s update to the Hawks Ping-Pong Chronicles!