The NBA will return on Thursday after a memorable All-Star Break and some much-needed rest for a young Hawks team. The regular season always goes by like a breeze after this time of year until the playoffs begin, and heading into the final stretch, expectations have risen for Atlanta, who did some early shopping for the 2020-21 season at the trade deadline.
The Hawks should be a tad bit better down the stretch. They are finally healthy and added the likes of Clint Capela, Dewayne Dedmon, and Skal Labissiere to the roster. With that being said, if the season ended today, they would be tied for the best odds to receive the number one overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. With 26 games left, the number one pick is looking like a legitimate possibility.
As things stand, Atlanta has the third-worst record in the league at 15-41. The teams with the three worst records share the same odds to receive the top pick, as well as landing in the top four picks, giving the Hawks a 14% chance at the number one pick and a 52.1% chance to receive a top-four selection. If they play themselves into the fourth-worst record, the odds for the pick fall to 12.5%. Fifth? 10.5%. Atlanta is 3.5 games behind Minnesota and New York, so there is a bit of wiggle room.
We all saw the Pelicans rise far and land a franchise player in Zion Williamson last season. The NBA Draft lottery has changed, and tanking is far less of a full-proof method due to the new odds. With that being said, it seems Atlanta is due to earn the top pick. They have participated in the draft lottery thirteen times in franchise history, but have never selected first overall. Could this finally be the year?