Atlanta Hawks

NBA Draft Lottery: Where Warriors stand in race for No. 1 overall pick

NBA Draft Lottery: Where Warriors stand in race for No. 1 overall pick

SAN FRANCISCO – The NBA Draft Lottery is the one day on the league’s annual calendar when failure is rewarded, with 14 franchises hoping to leverage their shortcomings into a prosperous future.

And the Warriors, who haven’t attended since 2012, are making a beeline for it in 2020.

The lottery is in Chicago this year, on May 19, and it remains among the league’s most anticipated events. Over the final seven weeks of the regular season, each Tuesday we will offer a look at the five teams with the worst records in the NBA, as one of them almost certainly will win the rights to the No. 1 overall pick:

1. Warriors (13-48)

Last three games (1-2): Lost to Washington Wizards, won at Phoenix Suns, lost to Los Angeles Lakers.

Next three games: Tuesday at Denver Nuggets, Thursday vs. Toronto Raptors, Saturday vs. Philadelphia 76ers.

Outlook: Good. Even with the expected return of Steph Curry, the Warriors need an upset to avoid going 0-3 and tightening their grip on the league’s worst record.

Hardest game to lose: 76ers, who have injury issues and are awful on the road.

2. Cavaliers (17-44)

Last three games (0-3): Lost to Utah Jazz, lost to Indiana Pacers, lost to New Orleans Pelicans.

Next three games: Wednesday vs. Boston Celtics, Saturday vs. Nuggets, Sunday vs. San Antonio Spurs.

Outlook: Excellent. The Celtics and Nuggets are fighting to retain top-four playoff seeds, and the prideful Spurs are hoping to extend a postseason-appearance streak to an NBA record 23 consecutive seasons.

Hardest game to lose: Spurs, who haven’t looked this vulnerable since the mid-1990s.

3. Timberwolves (17-42)

Last three games (1-2): Lost at Dallas Mavericks, lost at Orland Magic, won at Miami Heat.

Next three games: At Pelicans, vs. Chicago Bulls, vs. Magic.

Outlook: Dicey. After getting a load of Zion Williamson, who could go for 40, the struggling Bulls visit, followed by a Magic team that runs hot and cold. Karl-Anthony Towns (wrist) might be able to return this week, but it might be wise to, um, play it safe.

Hardest game to lose: Bulls, and this is particularly true if Zach LaVine (left quadriceps) is not back in the lineup.

4. Hawks (19-44)

Last three games (2-1): Lost vs. Memphis Grizzlies, won vs. Portland Trail Blazers, won vs. Brooklyn Nets.

Next three games: Friday at Wizards, Saturday at Grizzlies, Monday vs. Charlotte Hornets.

Outlook: Fair. They’re trending in the wrong direction, winning four of their last seven games. With a relatively soft upcoming schedule, the Hawks are in danger of losing ground in this race.

Hardest game to lose: Hornets, who only have eclipsed the 100-point mark once in their last five games and are 1-6 within the Southeast Division.

[RELATED: Why Steph's trainer is very happy with Dubs' medical staff]

5. Knicks (19-42)

Last three games (2-1): Won vs. Houston Rockets, won vs. Bulls, lost at 76ers.

Next three games: Wednesday vs. Jazz, Friday vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, Saturday vs. Detroit Pistons.

Outlook: Good. The Jazz are exploiting their soft schedule to recover from late-February slump and the Thunder have stunk it up only once in 2020.

Hardest game to lose: Pistons, who aren't really trying anymore and only are a half-game behind New York.

Why Hawks star Trae Young doesn't mind hearing Steph Curry comparisons

Why Hawks star Trae Young doesn't mind hearing Steph Curry comparisons

If you had a dollar every time someone compared Steph Curry to Trae Young, you'd have a lot of dollars. 

It's an obvious comparison. The Warriors star and the face of the Atlanta Hawks are electric, undersized point guards who can drain shots from just about anywhere on the court. 

Young surely has heard of the similarities countless times, but that doesn't mean he minds the reminder. 

"Who wouldn't want to be compared to MVP and a guy like that," the 21-year-old told reporters Friday ahead of the NBA Rising Stars Challenge. "I don't necessarily get into all that. I don't mind it. I'm glad I'm getting compared to a guy like him than somebody else. It's not a bad thing."

Curry has missed all but four games this season after breaking his left hand a day before Halloween. The two-time MVP will be re-evaluated March 1, and he'll return to the court soon after. 

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard arguably has seized the reigns as the NBA's most ridiculous shot-maker in Curry's absence -- seriously, just look at the Oakland native's game logs since the start of 2020 -- but Young isn't far behind. Young is averaging 29.7 points per game and making 36.9 percent of his 3-point shots. 

[RELATED: Paschall impresses, leads Team USA to Rising Stars win]

He's not quite Curry, of course. The three-time NBA champion has never shot worse than 40 percent from deep in a season in which he played at least 50 games. Curry could retire today as the NBA's fifth-most proficient 3-point shooter (43.5 percent), while Young didn't even cross the 40 percent threshold in his one year at the University of Oklahoma. 

Young's cabinets are missing the hardware that fills Curry's, too. But being mentioned in the same breath at this point in his career? That's more than enough for Young right now. 

Jabari Parker nearing Kings debut after NBA trade deadline whirlwind

Jabari Parker nearing Kings debut after NBA trade deadline whirlwind

The NBA trade deadline always is an interesting time. The buildup is intense, especially for players in the locker room. They get asked uncomfortable questions about their future. They might have to leave their families and friends behind and live in a hotel in a distant city.

Pins and needles turn into a new reality for players around the league as reports hit social media and then are confirmed. It’s a wild, emotional time for almost everyone involved.

For Jabari Parker, whom the Sacramento Kings acquired along with center Alex Len in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks at the deadline last week, this isn’t the first time he has been traded at the deadline. In fact, it’s the second year in a row that he ha had to make an adjustment on the fly and join a new team for the final 30-plus games of the season.

It’s part of the business of the NBA and it usually gives players a unique perspective on what to expect, especially once they’ve been through the process once or twice.

“I knew what I signed up for when I chose this, it’s just a matter of building,” Parker said. “Life throws everything at you. Life is not real steady, everybody has challenges. And that kind of perspective kind of takes me far and gets me prepared for moments like this.”

Parker has struggled with injuries throughout his six seasons in the league. He’s currently dealing with a shoulder impingement that required a procedure in December, and he also tore the ACL in his left knee twice in his first three seasons in the league.

The 24-year-old forward has played in just one game since Christmas and he has missed the last 19 games, but he’s getting very close to a return. He would like to play on Monday against the Milwaukee Bucks, the team that drafted him No. 2 overall in 2014, although the Kings might have something to say about that.

“If it’s up to me, I’d play today,” Parker said on Saturday. “But it’s not up to me. I’m just trying to take the safest way.”

He’s stepping into an interesting situation. The Kings have struggled all season long, but they currently are on a hot streak and they are attempting to claw their way back into the postseason race.

“I feel good, I’m just trying to get as [much] practice as possible before I try to get in some games,” Parker said about his injured shoulder. “Preparation is key, especially where our team is right now. You see we’ve been winning and I don’t want to try to slow us up.”

While injuries have defined his early career, Parker can bring something different to the Kings’ roster. He is a combo forward that can really fill up the basket. He averaged 15 points and six rebounds per game for the Hawks, while shooting 50.4 percent from the floor.

He isn’t a great perimeter shooter, but there is plenty to like about his game and he’s still young enough to improve.

“Mindset-wise, I always try to count my blessings because right now, I’m healthy, I’ve got a clear space, I have good people around me -- those three things I can take and the sky's the limit,” Parker said. “Really, just having that kind of mindset, is key for me.”

The Kings have been after Parker for a while. They chased him during free agency in 2018 before he signed with the Chicago Bulls. He’s on the books for $6.5 million this season and has a player option for the same amount next year.

[RELATED: Divac admits Dedmon wasn't player Kings expected to see]

If he sticks around, the Kings have another young scoring option to work with. If he opts out, Sacramento will have found a way to completely get out from underneath Dewayne Dedmon’s contract, whom the Kings dealt to land Parker.