That wouldn’t be such a bad lottery outcome for the Hawks. The team with the third-worst record has a 15.6 percent chance to win the top pick compared to 25 percent for the worst record and 19.9 for second-worst. Significantly, the team with the third-worst record has roughly a 47 percent chance of picking in the top three. (After those three picks are determined by lottery, the selections continue in reverse order of record.)
And that’s where things get dicey for the Hawks. They are just 1½ games “ahead” of the Mavericks and Magic (both 22-51) in the race to the bottom, so the Hawks are closer to finishing fifth than they are first. The Hawks conclude their series against the Magic with a home game on Sunday after losing two of the first three meetings.