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Atlanta Hawks ping-pong chronicles: April 5

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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.

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For the Atlanta Hawks, these final three 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 sit in front of them, as well as Memphis. Dallas as well is a team to watch as they sit just two games 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. 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 three games considering they likely won’t be favored (in Las Vegas) again. The Hawks took the loss against Miami last night as the Heat downed Atlanta on back-to-back nights.

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 could control three first-round picks, currently sits ahead of Atlanta’s composite draft score of 146.48 with a score of 186.77.

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 18th 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 (who may be returning soon). Minnesota’s magic number is now at just 2 even after losing a game to the Utah Jazz Sunday night. They have had a nice break going into their big game tonight against Denver. The Timberwolves would all but clinch a playoff spot with a win tonight.

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 Suns actually won a game Tuesday night! The win against the Kings breaks a 15-game losing streak but does not drop Phoenix out of the worst record overall. Phoenix is just a game behind the Grizzlies and two games behind the Hawks, so any more wins can mean serious movement at the top of the lottery odds. The Suns next game is against the Pelicans tomorrow night in a tough matchup.

Memphis was easily dispatched by the Pelicans last night in what was nearly a 30-point blowout. It would be surprising to see the Grizzlies win any of their remaining 4 games to say the least. Memphis gets their best remaining chance to do so on Friday night against the Kings.

The Orlando Magic were able to get the win over the dreadful Dallas Mavericks unit last night in a close game. This makes three wins in a row for the Magic who now sit with the fifth-worst record just ahead of Dallas. Orlando will be back in action again today against the Hornets tomorrow night in another winnable game for the Magic.

Dallas rolled out a pitiful squad in last night’s loss to the Mavericks and still nearly won the game. The Mavericks with the loss now move back into the fourth-worst record overall. Atlanta has quite the cushion on the Mavericks, who play again Friday night against Detroit.

The aforementioned Kings took the loss to the Suns Tuesday night after having multiple opportunities to tie the game late. Sacramento now gets a short rest before their next game against the Grizzlies tomorrow in a huge lottery match.

The Nets lost their second consecutive game in runaway fashion to the red hot 76ers Tuesday night. Brooklyn sits just two games behind Chicago and New York for the eighth-worst record overall before their next game tonight against the Bucks.

New York lost to the Magic Tuesday night and now have entered the bottom eight records in the NBA after a dreadful last couple of weeks. The Knicks will draw the Heat tomorrow looking to break their 4 game losing steak.

Chicago picked up their third straight win Tuesday night against the Hornets and now sit tied with the Knicks for the eighth-worst record before playing their next game tomorrow against the Celtics.

Today is all about Minnesota vs. Denver as this game has a massive impact on the Timberwolves playoff hopes. As always, stay tuned for tomorrow’s update to the Hawks Ping-Pong Chronicles!