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Atlanta Hawks ping-pong chronicles: April 8

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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 two 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 one 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. Both 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 either of their final two games considering they likely won’t be favored (in Las Vegas) again. The Hawks were able to pick up the win Friday night against the Wizards in unexpected fashion and will match-up with the Celtics today.

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 152.42.

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 eighth 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. Minnesota is going to need to lock in and win their final two games to make sure they make the Playoffs. There are a couple of scenarios for how the Timberwolves could make it in.

Scenario 1: They win tomorrow against the Grizzlies and win on Wednesday against the Nuggets.

Scenario 2: They win either tomorrow’s game OR Wednesday’s game and get in with a Denver loss to Portland on Monday.

Scenario 3: Minnesota wins either tomorrow’s game OR Wednesdays game and gets in with OKC and New Orleans losing out.

This is all very troubling news, but the good news is that Jimmy Butler is back and that Portland actually has something to play for against the Nuggets on Monday as they are trying to lock down home court advantage.

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 lost yet again Friday night to the New Orleans Pelicans to hold their position at the worst record in the NBA. Phoenix owns the best odds to pick number one in the NBA Draft this summer with a 25% chance to win the first pick. The Suns penultimate game is a tough one today against the Warriors.

Memphis had an opportunity to beat the Kings Friday night but could not capitalize as Sacramento took the one-point win. The Grizzlies sit just 1.5 games ahead of the Hawks before their next game today against Detroit.

The Orlando Magic were blown out in epic proportions Friday night by the Hornets by nearly 40 points. The Magic inch slightly closer to a tie with the Mavericks who are behind them by just half a game. Orlando has the Raptors today so expect them to add another loss to their resume.

Dallas took the Pistons to overtime Friday night but could not finish the deed. The loss has the Mavericks slightly behind the Magic for the fourth-worst record and a full game ahead of the Hawks for the third-worst record. Dallas is back at it today against the red hot 76ers.

The aforementioned Kings took the win Friday night in Memphis by a single point. Sacramento sits just slightly behind the Nets for the sixth-worst record overall and will fall to a tie if Brooklyn loses tomorrow. The Kings will get a short break before Monday’s game against the Spurs.

The Nets were able to pick up the win last night against the Bulls and now move into a tie with Chicago for the seventh-worst record overall. Brooklyn is back at it tomorrow against the Bulls in a game that will either move them into a tie for the sixth-worst record or give them sole possession of the seventh-worst record.

Chicago, as mentioned before, took the loss last night to the Brooklyn Nets and continue to nosedive at the end of this season. They are not finished with the Nets as they play them once again tomorrow night.

New York was unable to pull off the upset against the Bucks last night and retain their positioning at the ninth-worst record overall. The Knicks will draw Cleveland in their next game on Monday.

All of the teams with bottom 5 records are in action today and anything is possible with how close the race to the top of the lottery is this season. As always, stay tuned for tomorrow’s update to the Hawks Ping-Pong Chronicles!