Owner Jami Gertz hopes this will be Hawks’ last lottery pick

Actress Jami Gertz has been married to Hawks owner Tony Ressler since 1988.

Hawks owner Jami Gertz will represent the team again in Thursday’s draft lottery, but this time, she hopes, will be the last.

Gertz, who owns the team along with her husband, Tony Ressler, thinks the Hawks are poised to take a step forward after three consecutive seasons of missing the playoffs (the lottery includes the 14 teams that do not qualify for the postseason).

“I think we have such an amazing young core right now, with Trae (Young) and De’Andre (Hunter) and Cam (Reddish) and Kevin (Huerter) and John Collins,” Gertz said. “Those five are all 22 years (old) or younger, so we have a very young core, and this lottery pick is going to add to our young core. And this, my prayer is that this is my last season picking the lottery because I think we have all of the elements there and we are developing all of our young players. It was cut short this year.

“The whole world changed this year, the whole planet changed this year. So I’m looking forward to it because it’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s exciting for the fans. But I think we have so many amazing pieces already there, that this will just add to an already amazing roster that Travis has put together. So I think that it’s just a win-win situation, whatever happens.”

Indeed, the coronavirus cut the Hawks’ season short by 15 games — they finished 20-47, the fourth-worst record in the NBA, with injuries to Huerter, a bad supporting cast and Collins’ 25-game suspension playing a big role in their lack of success. Because they were more than six games out of playoff contention, the Hawks were one of eight teams not invited to resume the season in the Orlando bubble.

As such, their lottery odds have been locked in for a while now, with the league basing the odds for those eight teams off their records as of March 11, when the season was first suspended.

The Hawks have a 12.5 percent chance at the No. 1 pick in the lottery, which will be conducted virtually this year, a 12.2 percent chance at the No. 2 pick, an 11.9 percent chance at the No. 3 pick, an 11.5 percent chance at the No. 4 pick and a 7.2 percent chance at the No. 5 pick. All in all, that’s a 55.3 percent chance at a top five selection and a 36.6 chance at a top three selection.

However, the Hawks have a pretty high chance of landing at No. 6 (25.7 percent) or No. 7 (16.7 percent) as well, with a 2.2 percent chance at the No. 8 pick. Their first-round pick cannot fall out of the top eight.

The NBA modified its lottery in 2019, with the three highest lottery teams (the three teams that finished with a worse record than the Hawks: Golden State, Cleveland and Minnesota) each having a 14 percent chance of nabbing the No. 1 pick.

Wherever the Hawks land, Gertz is confident that Hawks general manager and president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk will turn it into something positive.

This season, the Hawks’ average pick, taking into account all the scenarios and odds, puts them at fourth. Last season, the Hawks were projected to pick fifth, but fell to eighth. The eighth pick was their own, while the 10th pick came from Dallas, which the Hawks got by trading Luka Doncic in exchange for Young. They ended up sending the No. 8 pick (Jaxson Hayes) to New Orleans in a trade that made it possible to select Hunter at No. 4, and they were able to snag Reddish at No. 10.

Before 2018, the Hawks had not had a lottery pick since 2007, because of their 10-year playoff run (in 2007, they selected Al Horford and Acie Law).

“Look at what we turned the eighth and 10th pick into,” Gertz said. “So for me, I would love to go in the top five, I’d love the No. 1 pick. There’s no one who doesn’t want the No. 1 pick. But the odds are the odds and the pingpong ball is the pingpong ball. So I’m hopeful as always, but I know, I have such strength in Travis in what he does and his team and how they put things together that no matter what I do, he will take it and make it something special.”

In addition to the Hawks’ first-round pick, they also will have the No. 50 pick, in the second round.

The lottery will air on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, and the draft will take place Oct. 16.