For the Atlanta Hawks, these last 17 games of the 2018 season are pivotal in the determination of the 2018 NBA Draft positioning. Coming down the stretch and into the draft lottery, Peachtree Hoops will be doing a daily update breaking down Atlanta’s dwindling “tragic number” and also the status of the other two first round selections owed to the Hawks by Minnesota and Houston.
Hawks Tragic Number
The Hawks currently sport a 20-45 record, which is still tied for the worst mark in the Eastern Conference with the Brooklyn Nets after the Nets lost to Golden State last night. The Hawks “tragic number” which is the number of games Atlanta would have to lose or that teams currently in the Eastern Conference Playoff picture would need to win to eliminate the Hawks from the Playoffs is currently 4.
Atlanta has already been eliminated from being able to win the first or second seeds and was eliminated from winning the third seed after losing in Toronto last night. They could also be eliminated from the fourth seed by the end of the night. Here is the scenario in which that would occur:
Atlanta would’ve needed to lose to the Raptors last night (they did), the Wizards would have had to beat the Heat last night (they did) and the Pacers would need to beat the Jazz tonight.
Hawks upcoming schedule
After a tough matchup with Toronto on Tuesday, the Hawks get no relief going forward. The Hawks next game on Friday in Indiana features a Pacers team that has split their last two games against the Hawks. After facing the Pacers, the Hawks will be back at home for an important game against the Chicago Bulls that could be pivotal in deciding Atlanta’s draft position as Chicago is right there with Atlanta at the bottom of the league standings.
Minnesota and Houston picks
Atlanta continues to hold the second-most valuable array of draft selections according to tankathon.com’s composite draft score ratings. Phoenix, the only other team that currently controls three first round picks besides the Hawks, is the only team ahead of Atlanta’s composite draft score of 134.53 with an absurd score of 184.40.
The Hawks are also keeping a close eye on the Timberwolves and Rocket records since Atlanta owns both Houston’s and Minnesota’s first round picks if everything falls into place. The Timberwolves pick is protected for selections 1-14 in the Draft and with Jimmy Butler still on the mend things are beginning to go downhill for Minnesota quickly in the tight race that is the Western Conference Playoff standings. The pick would currently convey as the 21st selection in the Draft since the Timberwolves are still in the Playoff picture, but with the T-Wolves holding the third most difficult remaining schedule in the entire league the Hawks are going to need a miracle ending for that pick to convey.
Houston’s pick is a little more safe as it seems the Rockets are going to make the Playoffs rather easily. The even better news is that the pick is only protected for the top 3 selections in the Draft making the chances of it not conveying less than 1%. Houston’s “magic number” to clinch a playoff berth is just 2 and after they clinch a playoff spot the pick will be guaranteed to convey.
Other teams at the bottom
Atlanta’s own pick positioning will be majorly influenced by the status of those teams that currently surround Atlanta at the bottom of the standings. Here are updates on the teams that are currently behind Atlanta in the league standings.
The worst team in the NBA continues to be Memphis at an 18-45 record. The Grizzlies will travel to Chicago for a game that has big implications on the Lottery as both teams fall within the bottom 10 records in the NBA.
Phoenix, who became the first team to enter the Draft Lottery after being eliminated from Playoff contention on Monday, will face off against the Thunder on Thursday.
Dallas, who actually won last night in their game against the Nuggets, did the Hawks multiple favors in draft position. Not only does Atlanta move back into a tie for the third worst record in the league but the Nuggets loss also improves the chances of the Timberwolves pick conveying.
Brooklyn, one of two teams behind the Hawks in the Eastern Conference standings, lost to Golden State last night improving Cleveland’s draft position as the Cavaliers own the Nets pick for 2018. Brooklyn will be back in action against the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday in a game the Nets have a real chance to win.
The other team behind Atlanta in the East is Orlando who have a big matchup against the Lakers in Los Angeles tonight. A win over the Lakers is realistic and could vault Atlanta back into the bottom three records in the NBA helping to improve the Hawks draft position.
The Hawks have a real chance to move down in the standings tonight should Memphis pull the upset over Chicago and if Orlando could beat the Lakers. Make sure to watch closely and as always, stay tuned for tomorrow’s update of the Hawks Ping-Pong Chronicles!