By virtue of a ten-year playoff streak, it has been a while since the Atlanta Hawks owned a lottery pick. However, that is changing this year and, on the eve of the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery, it is time to remember how the ping-pong balls have treated the franchise in recent memory.
Atlanta has participated in the lottery on six occasions since 2000 and, in short, the results are about what you would expect.
- 2000 - Dropped from No. 5 to No. 6
- 2001 - Moved up from No. 5 to No. 3
- 2004 - Stayed put at No. 6
- 2005 - Dropped from No. 1 to No. 2
- 2006 - Dropped from No. 4 to No. 5
- 2007 - Moved up from No. 4 to No. 3
Even without ever securing the No. 1 pick in that time frame, the Hawks moved up twice, dropped three times and remained in place on one occasion. Of course, the more optimistic fan would point to karma and the potential of good fortune for Atlanta in 2018 but, in the same breath, the odds are what they are and it would take some good luck for the Hawks to significantly rise.
Given that some of the fan base is young and/or new to the team (since the 60-win season, especially), here is a brief look at how the draft worked out for the Hawks when the team was selecting in the lottery:
- 2000 - DerMarr Johnson - This was one of the worst draft classes in recent memory and only Jamal Crawford (No. 8 overall) truly represents a misfire in terms of a player the Hawks should have snatched.
- 2001 - Pau Gasol - This was a pick swiftly traded for a package headlined by Shareef Abdur-Rahim and the local product performed well in Atlanta. Still, the concept of having Gasol locally for a decade-plus would have been nice.
- 2004 - Josh Childress - The Hawks did a great job in nabbing Josh Smith with the No. 17 pick but the Childress selection wasn’t great. Because of his (very) weird path through Europe, it is possible that Childress is actually underrated at this point but Andre Iguodala and Luol Deng (obviously) would have been better choices.
- 2005 - Marvin Williams - Everyone knows the story here. Despite having a team with a dire need a point guard, Billy Knight took what he deemed to be the best player available, at the expense of Chris Paul, Deron Williams and even Raymond Felton. It didn’t go well but, on the “bright” side, Marvin Williams has been a quality NBA player for more than a decade and he is severely underrated as a result of his lofty draft position.
- 2006 - Shelden Williams - I’ve long argued this was a worse draft decision than taking Marvin Williams at No. 2, if only because Shelden Williams wasn’t anyone’s idea of a top-five pick. There have been rumors (to put it kindly) of a “guarantee” to the former Duke product for a long time but, in short, there were better options (Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, etc.) and this never made sense at any level
- 2007 - Al Horford - It is actually rare that any team picking No. 3 overall would actually take the best player available but the Hawks did just that here. Kevin Durant was the obvious prize but he was gone at this point and, even if you really like Mike Conley or Joakim Noah, it would be impossible to argue against this particular selection.
There will be many crossed fingers in the city of Atlanta on Tuesday evening. Stay tuned.