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 not yet officially been eliminated from the NBA Playoffs, but it is merely a formality at this point. The Hawks ‘Tragic Number’ is now down to 8 after their loss to Miami on Monday night. Atlanta has already been eliminated from clinching the top four seeds in the Eastern Conference and are two losses away from being eliminated from the fifth seed.
As of right now, Atlanta continues to sit firmly entrenched with the fifth-worst record in the NBA. Tankathon.com gives them a 42.1 percent chance at securing a top-4 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft and a 10.5% chance at snagging the number one 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. The Hawks are within their final 20 games, but March’s schedule looks absolutely terrifying.
Hawks upcoming schedule
Atlanta’s next few games ahead are winnable. The Hawks will face two playoff teams (at home) in the Spurs and Nets this week, but the latter half of March is the treacherous part. Atlanta will face seven current playoff teams in their final eight games of the month, which could aid their movement up in the lottery rankings.
The Hawks realistically have nothing to play for the rest of the way, but expect Lloyd Pierce to have his team trying hard to win games. Because, as we all should know by now, coaches and players don’t tank. The Hawks took the one point loss in Miami on Monday night as they faced the Heat, who are fighting to stay alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The team will face another very challenging matchup tonight at home against DeMar DeRozan and the San Antonio Spurs who are hanging on for dear life to the eighth seed in the West.
Dallas pick status
Atlanta still 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 165.49 sits nearly 56 points(!) ahead of the next closest team (Cleveland). 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. 41, 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’ first-round pick if everything falls into place. The pick from Dallas is protected for selections 1-5 in the Draft which means the team would need to get lucky in the lottery by hitting on a top four pick for the pick to not convey. Dallas now sits as the third-worst team in the Western Conference Playoff race, leading to some too-close-for-comfort feelings for the Hawks.
The pick would currently convey as the No. 8 selection in the Draft (at least until the lottery), since the Mavericks are 4.5 games ahead of the fifth-worst record. After the Hawks loss in Miami on Monday, they still sit five games back in the win column from Dallas. The Mavericks’ tragic number is currently at 10 after they were blown out by the Nets Monday evening.
This selection may end up being 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 73.6 percent chance of obtaining the pick from Dallas, with the remaining 26.4 percent divided up between the top four, each of which would remain with the Mavericks if Lady Luck is with them on lottery night.
Make sure to keep your eyes on the scoreboards 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.
Stay tuned for the next episode of the ping-pong chronicles.