Breaking down the Hawks lottery odds

adam silver2

In what feels like forever, we finally have some Hawks talk, with the NBA lottery taking place on Thursday of this week.


After that, we will start breaking down all of the Hawks potential draft options. But for now, let’s take a look at Atlanta’s chances of landing a top-four selection and the number one overall pick. Over the years, the Hawks have been one of the most unlucky lottery teams in the NBA. The anti Cavs/Pelicans, if you will.


Since 2000, the Hawks have been in the lottery ten times:


  • They have had the best odds of winning the lottery only once, which was in 2005. They selected Marvin Williams 2nd overall — one pick before Deron Williams and two picks before Chris Paul
  • Atlanta has only moved higher than one pick above their odds once, climbing two spots in 2001 from 5th to 3rd. They selected Pau Gasol and traded him to the Grizzlies for Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
  • The Hawks have only climbed above their odds three times: 2001, 2007 (one spot, selected Al Horford), and 2018 (one spot, selected and traded Luka Doncic).
  • In 2019, Atlanta had the 5th best odds but dropped to 8th in the draft. This marked the 4th time they fell in the draft.
  • The Hawks were not in the lottery from 2007-2018. Even dating back to 1985 when it began, they have NEVER won the lottery.


With a little background, let’s talk about this season. Starting in 2019, the bottom three teams all have a 14% chance of getting the top pick to discourage tanking. In classic Hawks fashion, they finished 4th worst. This means their odds of picking first sits at 12.5%, roughly the same odds that a top-three team would have for the 3rd pick. In descending order, it goes like this for Atlanta:


1st – 12.5%

2nd – 12.2%

3rd – 11.9%

4th – 11.5%

5th – 7.2%

6th – 25.7%

7th – 16.7%

8th – 2.2%


That isn’t a typo; the Hawks have over a 25% chance of getting the 6th selection. That feels pretty on-brand for them, and it wouldn’t be surprising to pick in that range considering how the lottery has gone in the past. As noted, they can’t drop below the 8th pick. For reference, the Warriors, who have the worst record in the NBA, can’t fall past 5th.






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