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Atlanta Hawks ping-pong chronicles: April 2

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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.

For the Atlanta Hawks, these final five 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 46.9% chance at securing a top-3 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft and a 15.6% 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. Orlando as well are a team to watch as they sit just a half game 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. All of the Hawks remaining games 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 will be hard pressed to win any of their final five games considering they likely won’t be favored (in Las Vegas) again. The Hawks took the win against Orlando last night as they managed to just play slightly better than the Magic in a game that was not good basketball to say the least. Atlanta plays again tomorrow against a tough Miami Heat team.

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 144.46 with a score of 191.53.

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 seventh 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 19th 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 is now at just 2 even after losing a game to the Utah Jazz last night. They will be getting a small break before playing again on Thursday.

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 homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs 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 Warriors managed to pick up the win against Phoenix last night with Kevin Durant back in the lineup for Golden State. 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 difficult schedule to end the season with yet another match against the Warriors still to come. The Suns are back at it tomorrow night against the Kings.

Memphis has surprised the league in the last week by upsetting both the Timberwolves on Monday and the Blazers on Wednesday night, but were beaten easily by the Blazers last night. The loss gives the Grizzlies sole possession of the second-worst record in the NBA with the Hawks winning yesterday. The Grizzlies play again on Wednesday against the Pelicans.

The Orlando Magic were unable to beat the Hawks in a battle of Eastern Conference basement teams last 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 on Wednesday against the Mavericks.

Dallas was dispatched by Cleveland with ease last night which keeps them in firm position of the fifth-worst record overall. The Mavericks will start a back-to-back on Wednesday with the Trail Blazers.

Sacramento was able to pull out a one-point win over the Lakers last night that had no effect on their draft positioning as they have a firm hold on the sixth-worst record. The Kings have Phoenix in a game tomorrow night that surely everyone in the lottery will be paying close attention to.

The Nets, after beating the Heat on Saturday, could not pull another upset over the Pistons last night. Brooklyn has the rare three games in four nights scenario going on with their next game tomorrow against the 76ers in Philadelphia

Chicago picked up yet another win on Easter Sunday by upsetting the Washington Wizards rather easily. The Bulls remain in the eighth-worst record slot overall in the NBA before their next game tomorrow against the Hornets.

On an off day around the league make sure to keep an eye on the top prospects in college as more declare for the 2018 NBA Draft each day. As always, stay tuned for tomorrow’s update to the Hawks Ping-Pong Chronicles!