The NBA carousel powered up yesterday when Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee were sent to the Dallas Mavericks for Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, and two future first round picks.
This trade signaled the Knicks commitment to tanking for a draft spot next season, and the fact that the Mavericks are still going for a playoff spot this season. But what does that mean for the draft pick the Mavericks to owe the Atlanta Hawks this season?
The Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks made a trade in last year’s draft that gave Atlanta control of Dallas’s first round pick this season.
The Hawks would receive the pick as long as the pick didn’t land in the top five of the draft. The Mavericks were sitting in the 12th spot in the west as of today, so the Hawks were in good shape to get a lottery pick that would stay outside of the top 5. Now with Porzingis possibly coming back, that possible top 5 picks may fall outside of the lottery if the Mavericks can get into the playoffs.
The Mavericks are betting the house with this team. Dallas doesn’t have a first-round pick this season, and just gave up two more in the trade with the Knicks. So, Dallas is going all in with the core of Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis for the foreseeable future. That means Dallas is going for that last playoff spot this season.
They are sitting 4.5 games behind the 8th place Clippers. With 30 games left in the season, there is a good chance Dallas can sneak into the playoffs. That is bad news for the Atlanta Hawks.
Atlanta was determined to tank this year. Unfortunately, the Cavs, Knicks, Bulls, and Suns all had the same plan, and as of now are tanking more successfully than the Hawks. The Hawks, most likely, won’t be getting the top pick in next seasons draft, but will probably stay in the top 5 of worst records in the league.
That means the Hawks have a great chance to land in the top 5 with their own pick this season. The Mavericks pick, if it was a top 10 pick, was going to be incredibly valuable for the building of this Hawks team. Now, the Hawks would be lucky to get a lottery pick from Dallas.
The Dallas pick falling outside of the lottery may not be a big deal for the Hawks. Travis Schlenk, the Hawks GM, was shown a propensity for finding players who can contribute to this team right away. John Collins and Kevin Huerter, both picked at the 19th slot, have proven that. So, we should trust the Hawks and Schlenk to make the right decision, no matter where the draft picks falls. Sure, it would be great to have an extra lottery pick, but it’s not the end of the world if the Hawks are stuck with the 16th pick in the draft.
The Hawks have an identity and are heading in the right direction towards success. We need to go along for the ride.