The Atlanta Hawks entered Tuesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery with a 42 percent chance to secure a top-four selection and only a 10.5 percent chance to win the lottery and pole position to select Duke’s Zion Williamson. In turn, Travis Schlenk and company were technically more likely than not to stay put at No. 5 overall (the team’s pre-lottery slot) or drop outside of the top five entirely than they were to ascend into the top four. With that in mind, the ping-pong balls were not overly kind to Atlanta in 2019, with the franchise landing the No. 8 pick after beginning the day with only an 8.8 percent chance to fall into that slot.
However, the Hawks will also have the No. 10 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and that is a fortunate subplot of the evening. That selection arrives to complete the trade with the Dallas Mavericks (involving Trae Young and Luka Doncic), as the pick was owed to the Hawks if it did not land within the top five selections.
As for the Hawks’ own pick, a landing spot outside of the top four still features myriad possibilities for Schlenk and the front office. Players like Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver, Virginia’s DeAndre Hunter and Duke’s Cameron Reddish (who has been tied to Atlanta at this very early juncture) could conceivably be available for selection, with the looming possibility of a trade in either direction. While the 2019 draft is not considered to be immensely strong, there are quality prospects available and that allows Schlenk to embrace a number of possibilities and the flexibility to engineer optimal scenarios.
Stay tuned throughout the process for full coverage of the 2019 NBA Draft but, as the lottery fades into the background with an eye toward the selection process, May 14 wasn’t exactly positive for the Atlanta Hawks, at least when compared to pre-draft expectations.