Atlanta Hawks Nab 8th & 10th Pick - What's Next
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Author: Kevin L. Chouinard (@KLChouinard)
The Hawks split their lottery luck in Chicago Tuesday night. As a result, they now hold the rights to five picks in the 2019 NBA Draft: two in the Top 10 (picks 8 and 10) and three in the second round (picks 35, 41 and 44).
The Hawks entered the night with the fifth-highest odds of winning the lottery and moving to the No. 1 spot, but Memphis, New Orleans, and the Los Angeles Lakers each connected on winning ping-pong ball combinations. As a result, those three teams leapfrogged past Atlanta into the top four draft spots, dropping the Hawks to the No. 8 pick and zapping some well-deserved buzz about how much fun it would be for the top pick to land with the Hawks.
On the flip side, the Hawks did find good fortune with the top-5 protected draft pick that they acquired from Dallas in the trade that brought Trae Young to Atlanta. It stayed out of the top five spots and will convey to the Hawks in 2019 as the No. 10 overall pick.
"Now we know that we have five picks in the draft," General Manager Travis Schlenk said after the lottery result. "As I've said all along, it opens a lot of doors for us. With five picks, we can package to try to move up. If there's a team excited about (one of our picks), we can move back and maybe pick up a different asset. It gives us a lot of different options."
With reasonable lottery odds and a surprising 2018-19 regular season built around an exciting young core, there was considerable build-up in the weeks preceding the lottery that the Hawks would be the most entertaining destination for the No. 1 pick – and not just among local voices, but national ones, too. Tuesday's lottery result stifled that sort of chatter, because not only did the Hawks not get the No. 1 pick, but they also got a pick at the opposite end of the spectrum, an outcome that was actually less likely (8.8 percent) than them getting the No. 1 pick (10.5 percent).
Was the result of their own pick a buzzkill on the surface? Absolutely. The Hawks didn't get lucky. On the other hand, it's important to remember what the fuss was all about in the first place. Folks wanted the No. 1 pick in Atlanta because the Hawks have a superb young nucleus. How was that foundation formed? Those players were chosen with the No. 5 pick (Trae Young), No. 19 pick (John Collins) and another No. 19 pick (Kevin Huerter). With the No. 8 and No. 10 picks in hand, the Hawks now have two picks sitting right in their wheelhouse, if they choose to use them. If they opt to trade them, the person who chose Young, Collins and Huerter – Travis Schlenk – will be at the controls to make another judicious choice.
So even if the lottery didn't end in optimal fashion, an important offseason awaits the Hawks. Starting next week, more potential draftees will come to Atlanta to work out under the watchful eyes of Schlenk and the rest of the Hawks' basketball operations staff. When that process wraps up with the draft on June 20, the Hawks' young core will grow larger than it is right now.