For the Atlanta Hawks, Winning Games is Not a Bad Thing

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 2: Mike Muscala
ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 2: Mike Muscala /

After a strong team win against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday afternoon, the Atlanta Hawks are 20-44 on the season – thoroughly in the running for the worst record in the league.

With their starting backcourt playing limited minutes (Kent Bazemore sat for rest and Dennis Schröder scored 21 points in 23 minutes), Atlanta won on a clutch three-pointer from second-year player Taurean Prince.

On the other end, rookie Tyler Dorsey played excellent one-on-one defense on gifted scorer/shooter Devin Booker, forcing him to put up a difficult shot, which went begging as time expired.

Though in-touch, “woke” fans know that tanking hard at the end of the season is the easiest path to the get the number one overall pick, winning a game here or there is not the end of the world for this Atlanta Hawks team.

Must Read: Atlanta Hawks Mock Draft 1.0

First off, winning basketball breeds a winning culture. Sure, “the process” of the Philadelphia 76ers has looked to be coming to fruition this season, but they were a team that won only 10 – that’s right, ten – total games in the 2015-16 season.

This young Hawks core needs to grow, and learning how to play the game on the fly is much easier if you’re winning your fair share of games than if you’re losing all the time.

The basketball gods, whoever or whatever they might be, seem to reward effort and that sometimes shows in the NBA’s draft lottery.

Some “fans” seem to forget that the NBA’s rather wacky system for picking what teams receive what draft picks is down to literal ping-pong balls in a lottery setting. Losing the most games only guarantees you the best chance to get the number one overall pick, it does not guarantee that you will actually get the number one overall pick.

"Losing the most games only guarantees you the best chance to get the number one overall pick, it does not guarantee that you will actually get the number one overall pick."

In terms of this draft, there is a clear top two that all of the cellar-dwelling teams would love to have on their team. DeAndre Ayton is perhaps the best college player in the country this season, and Luka Doncic is doing unheard-of things in the EuroLeague for Real Madrid this season.

Sure, the Hawks would immediately become more interesting if either of those two players landed on the team, but if they “only” get the second pick, that means the onus will be on the top team to make a decision.

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The Hawks can sit back and take whichever player the number-one overall team picked with nary a second thought.

Furthermore, if the Hawks miraculously go on a shocking hot streak (which would flabbergast me to the n th degree), there is also a clear top 7-8 in this draft, so if they win way more games than expected, they should still be able to draft a franchise-altering talent as long as they stay within the top 8.

With 8 teams firmly in the running for the worst-overall record in the league, there is only a minor shot that the Hawks will fall out of that list.

Lottery balls can be extremely fickle, as they have no allegiances or ulterior motives. They do, however, hold a lot of power in the NBA, as they can make or break a team’s future.

No matter where the Hawks’ final record ends up, they should have a good chance at nabbing a tremendous young player with their first pick in the first round, and this doesn’t even take into account their 3 other picks, which should all land in the top 40.

Next: John Collins is Having a Historically Good Season

Stay tuned for more draft coverage as we get closer to the NBA draft lottery on May 15, 2018.