The Hawks have lost four in a row and eight of their last ten. Surprisingly, that doesn’t leave them with the worst record in the league at 5-20. That belongs to the Phoenix Suns, who are currently 4-19 on the year. Chicago is also tied with the Hawks at 5-20 and the Cavs aren’t too far behind at 5-19.
If the season ended today, the Hawks would have a 52.1% chance of finishing in the top-3 and a 14.0% chance of landing the #1 overall pick, according to Tankathon. Keep in mind, the NBA made changes to the lottery this year by flattening out the odds of landing the #1 pick among the worst teams in an attempt to reduce tanking. That might scare off some teams, but a 50+% chance of landing in the top four in this loaded draft class is still enough for the Hawks to continue to lose.
That’s not the only first-round pick the Hawks will have this year. They received a top-5 protected pick from Dallas in the Luka Doncic/Trae Young deal. That pick currently sits at #17, as the Mavs have performed above expectations so far this year. Dallas likely has too much talent to land in the top five, so the Hawks should receive their pick. However, I do expect the Mavs to fall out of the playoff race in the West by season’s end, which will put that pick back into the lottery.
The Hawks did have a chance at receiving a third first-round pick this season, but that seems all but a dream now. Atlanta owns Cleveland’s first-round pick if it falls outside the top 10. Considering the Cavs have nearly an identical record to the Hawks right now, that’s highly unlikely- but all is not lost.
Atlanta still has the opportunity to receive that first-round pick next year under the same circumstances. The Cavs will have Collin Sexton, Kevin Love and whoever they spend their lottery pick on in 2019 on their roster. There’s a much higher chance they finish outside the top 10 in 2020. If not, that pick becomes two second-round picks.
The Hawks are clearly bottom-feeders this year and in complete rebuild mode. That said, things can change quickly if they hit on a couple of these top draft picks that they own.