Atlanta Hawks best improbable odds to win NBA draft lottery

Hawks beat the odds, win the NBA draft lottery (0:24)

The Atlanta Hawks will have the top overall selection for the first time in 49 years after winning the draft lottery. (0:24)

CHICAGO -- The Atlanta Hawks rocketed up the board to grab the No. 1 pick in this year's NBA draft, winning the lottery for the first time in franchise history.

The Hawks, 36-46 this season for a 10th-place finish in the Eastern Conference, had just a 3% chance to win the lottery, the fifth-lowest odds by a team to win the No. 1 pick since the lottery began in 1985.

The Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs rounded out the top four. The Detroit Pistons, owners of the league's worst record this year, fell to No. 5. It's the second consecutive season the Pistons have had the worst record but fell to the fifth pick.

The Rockets, 41-41 this season, moved up six spots to get into the top three. Washington and Detroit had the best chances to land the top pick at 14%.

The draft is June 26-27 in Brooklyn.

Atlanta jumped from the No. 10 position before the draft to the top overall selection, beating improbable odds. It's the first time since 1975 the Hawks will select No. 1 overall.

"It was a shock," Hawks GM Landry Fields said following the lottery Sunday. "You look at the percentages, but when I first saw it wasn't us between 10 and 12 that launched us into the top 4, so I was like, all right we got a real shot at this thing. Bit of a surprise, but a lot of excitement."

The Hawks haven't won a postseason series since a surprising run to the Eastern Conference finals in 2021. They got knocked out in the first round in 2022 and 2023 and didn't advance past the play-in tournament this season.

Atlanta has some big decisions to make this offseason, including whether to break up its backcourt of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. Now Fields will have to decide how to utilize the No. 1 overall pick.

"It's a nice tool for us to continue to build out what we're doing," Fields said Sunday. "It's exciting."

French big man Alex Sarr is projected to go No. 1 to Atlanta in ESPN's latest mock draft. However, it's far from a certainty as this year's class has been defined thus far by its lack of a consensus No. 1 pick. Fellow French prospect Zaccharie Risacher as well as Kentucky's Reed Sheppard and Rob Dillingham are also expected to be off the board within the first few selections.

"There's a lot of guys and I think it's a lot of fun too," said Fields, who did not reveal how many players the Hawks would consider with the top overall pick. "So many different types of guys, so many different variations. We'll look at it, dive deep and see what comes in June."

The Charlotte Hornets and Portland Trail Blazers had the third- and fourth-best odds for the No. 1 pick but ended up sixth and seventh, respectively. The Spurs have another pick at No. 8, which they acquired from the Toronto Raptors in the Jakob Poeltl trade. The Memphis Grizzlies, hoping to bounce back next year with a fully healthy roster, have the No. 9 pick.

The Utah Jazz at No. 10, the Chicago Bulls at No. 11, the Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 12, the Sacramento Kings at No. 13 and the Blazers at No. 14 round out the lottery.

This year marks the sixth straight season in which the team with the worst record did not select first overall -- coinciding with the new lottery format, which began in 2019.

Despite the uncertainty at the top of this year's draft -- a far cry from last year's prize in Victor Wembanyama -- Fields shot down the notion that this class could be considered "weak" because of the lack of consensus in the top talent.

"Every draft class has great players in it," Fields said. "Our group has been fantastic. There's been a whole lot of trust, they put in the work. So we'll lean into our process and take it from there."

The Associated Press and ESPN Stats & Information research contributed to this story.