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 now know their official draft pick chances after action last night locked them into the fifth overall worst record in the NBA.
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 fate at this point. However, the Hawks have nearly as good of a chance of winning the first pick as any other team with a bottom-five record thanks to the new lottery rules. The worst three teams have a 14% chance at winning number one, the fourth worst team has a 12.5% chance, and, as stated previously, the Hawks have a 10.5% chance.
Atlanta’s final game holds no effect on any positioning, but it could be a real nice morale boost to see the team win 30 games this season after struggling to win 20 last year. It wouldn’t surprise anyone to see John Collins (or others) sit as it seems he is dealing with a legitimate ankle ailment, but it’s quite possible Trae Young plays against Indiana on Wednesday for one last push towards winning Rookie of the Year.
Dallas pick status
The Hawks hold the most valuable current array of draft selections, according to tankathon.com’s composite draft score ratings. Atlanta’s current composite draft score of 162.65 sits more than 53 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. 42, at least at the time of this post.
The Hawks have 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 with Memphis as the seventh-worst team in the league, with Washington a half-game ahead of that trio in the sixth spot and the New Orleans Pelicans a half-game behind them in ninth.
For now, the Mavericks’ pick could land anywhere between No. 6 and No. 9 (at least until the lottery), and while there is over a 70% chance that the pick will convey, it is no sure bet. The Mavericks’ win against Memphis on Sunday night really didn’t help their odds of keeping the pick, but the Hawks will assuredly be just fine with that night’s result.
In the lottery, if a team has the exact same record as another team(s), the average number of their two combined chances is taken and distributed to both teams unless the average of the two team’s chances is not an integer (AKA “a whole number” or “non-decimal”) in which case a coin flip will determine which team gets the slight decimal advantage. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly for the Hawks, that coin flip also determines what happens between the two teams if neither moves up in the lottery.
For example, if all three of New Orleans, Memphis, and Dallas finish with identical records in the seventh through ninth spots in the lottery, it would be randomly decided whether Dallas would enter at No. 7, No. 8 or No. 9 for post-lottery purposes. The actual lottery combinations wouldn’t change between those three teams, but if none of them move up, the Mavs’ official position would be the pick that conveys to Atlanta, so it could be incredibly important whether they’re listed as high as sixth (if Washington joins the fray) or as low as ninth.
This selection is like living on the edge because there is a nominal chance that it might not convey, 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 73.7% chance of obtaining the pick from Dallas, with the remaining 26.3% divided up between the top four, each of which would remain with the Mavericks if ‘Lady Luck’ is with them on lottery night. With so little absolutely sure about where Dallas will finish, there are only two spots we can absolutely rule out: Dallas will not have the fifth pick in the draft, nor will they have the 14th. Any other spot is technically still up for grabs for them, though some spots are obviously much more likely than others.
Make sure to keep your eyes on the scoreboards coming down the final stretch of this long 2019 schedule. The Hawks have the real 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.
This concludes season two of the ping-pong chronicles. We really appreciate everyone tuning in. Be on the lookout for Peachtree Hoops’ upcoming draft prospect breakdowns where we will be taking in-depth looks at a laundry list of prospects in the 2019 NBA Draft.