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Atlanta Hawks ping-pong chronicles: March 25

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A Monday update.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the ping-pong chronicles...(drum roll)...season two! In case this is your first time reading, we at Peachtree Hoops understand that there is a large portion of the Hawks fan base focused on Atlanta’s future assets (i.e. the NBA Draft, picks owed to the Hawks by other teams, etc.). So, in the waning days of the 2019 NBA Season, we will be keeping a close eye on Atlanta’s fluctuating lottery position and also the status of the other two first-round selections owed to the Hawks by Cleveland and Dallas.

Hawks draft position

The Hawks have now officially been eliminated from the NBA Playoffs. As of March 25, Atlanta continues to sit firmly entrenched with the fifth-worst record in the NBA overall, and with the fourth-worst record in the Eastern Conference.

Tankathon.com gives them a 42.1 percent chance at securing a top-4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and a 10.5 percent chance at snagging the No. 1 overall pick. Atlanta’s chances at a top pick will be up to the play of Phoenix, New York, Cleveland and Chicago, who currently sit in front of them in the Draft Lottery rankings. It has now become technically impossible for the Hawks to finish with the worst record in the NBA as they sit 12 wins ahead of the Knicks who do not even have 12 games left to play. The Hawks are within their final 10 games, and this final week of March games will not be especially favorable, at least on paper.

Hawks upcoming schedule

Atlanta’s next few matchups will be their hardest of the month so far. The Hawks will face a non-playoff team next in the Pelicans on Tuesday, and following that game, Atlanta will draw Portland and Milwaukee to close the month. The Hawks will face seven current playoff teams to finish the season after already facing the Sixers and Jazz in their last two games. Atlanta’s saving grace may be that four of those games are at State Farm Arena.

The Hawks realistically have nothing to play for (at least in the standings) the rest of the way, but expect Lloyd Pierce to have his team still trying hard to win games as you’ve recently witnessed. Because, as we all should know by now, coaches and players don’t tank. The Hawks last game resulted in a signature moment for Trae Young who hit the game winning shot to beat Philadelphia on Saturday.

Dallas pick status

Atlanta holds the most valuable current array of draft selections according to tankathon.com’s composite draft score ratings. Atlanta’s current composite draft score of 170.67 sits more than 64 points(!) ahead of the next closest team (Phoenix). A part of Atlanta’s high score are their three valuable second-round picks: their own, Charlotte’s, and the worse of choices from either the Minnesota Timberwolves or Los Angeles Lakers. Those picks are projected to be No. 35, No. 40, and No. 44, at least at the time of this post.

The Hawks are also keeping a close eye on the Mavericks’ record since Atlanta owns Dallas’ ultra valuable first-round pick if everything falls into place. The pick from Dallas is protected for selections 1-5 in the Draft, which means the Mavs would need to get lucky in the lottery by hitting on a top-four pick for the pick to not convey. Dallas now sits in a tie as the third-worst team in the Western Conference Playoff race with the Grizzlies, leading to some way too-close-for-comfort feelings for the Hawks.

The pick would currently land as the No. 6/7 selection in the Draft (at least until the lottery), but it’s far from certain that the pick will actually convey to Atlanta. After the Hawks win against Philly, they now sit just three and a half games back in the win column from Dallas. The Mavericks’ have now been officially eliminated from the playoffs, but were able to beat the vaunted Warriors convincingly in their last game on Saturday.

This selection may end up being very close to not conveying, but the Hawks will be more than ecstatic if they manage to gain another top-10 pick in the upcoming draft. If the season were to end today, the Hawks would have a 65.5 percent chance of obtaining the pick from Dallas, with the remaining 34.5 percent divided up between the top four, each of which would remain with the Mavericks if ‘Lady Luck’ is with them on lottery night.

It is important to note that while the Hawks have 7 of 8 games left against playoff teams, the Mavericks only have 4 of 8 games remaining against current playoff teams. So, there is still some hope that Dallas will create some more breathing room by winning games to give the Hawks some hope of keeping the pick.

Make sure to keep your eyes on the scoreboards (and cheer for the Mavericks) coming down the final stretch of this long 2019 schedule. The Hawks have the possibility of being set up very nicely in the 2019 Draft if everything were to go their way, which is really good news for a fan base already witnessing the young team making huge strides towards winning consistently. Adding two top 10 selections to this team could/would accelerate the rebuilding timeline by quite a bit.

Stay tuned for the next episode of the ping-pong chronicles.