Quin Snyder, Hawks Play Key Role In Jazz Immediate Future

Feb 26, 2024, 3:26 PM | Updated: Feb 27, 2024, 10:37 am

Head coach Quin Snyder and Dejounte Murray #5 of the Atlanta Hawks...

Head coach Quin Snyder and Dejounte Murray #5 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – There may be no team that has more influence on the immediate future of the Utah Jazz than Quin Snyder’s Atlanta Hawks.

With the two teams set to face one another on Tuesday night, Jazz fans would be wise to track the Hawks in the standings over the final six weeks of the NBA season.

It will mark the first time the Jazz have faced Snyder since he left the team in the summer of 2022.

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Jazz, Hawks Linked For Remainder Of Season

While the Play-In Tournament is not technically out of reach for the Jazz, it appears increasingly likely that they are headed back to the draft lottery.

With 24 games remaining in the regular season, the Jazz sit three games back of the Golden State Warriors for the 10th seed in the West, and with one of the most difficult remaining schedules in the NBA, the postseason is an unlikelihood.

But, unlike most seasons when the Jazz would be guaranteed a lottery selection if they were to miss the playoffs, their draft pick sits in a liminal space.

In 2021, the Jazz traded Derrick Favors along with their 2024 first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder to free up salary cap space.

However, that pick only conveys to the Thunder if the Jazz selection winds up between No. 11 and No. 30. They would hold onto the pick if it lands inside the top 10.

If the playoffs began today the Jazz would own the 11th-best lottery odds of moving up into the top four spots of the NBA Draft.

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But, if they didn’t hit on that 9.4 percent chance of moving up, they’d owe their selection to the Thunder.

Enter the Hawks, who at 25-32, own the 10th-worst record in the league.

If the Jazz were to fall behind the Hawks into the 10th seed in the standings, the odds of holding onto their first-round pick this summer would climb from 9.4 percent to an astounding 80.4 percent.

The Jazz would only convey their pick to the Thunder if one of the teams in the lottery ranked 11-14 were to move up into the top four picks of the draft, a 19.6 percent likelihood.

With just 1.5 games separating the Jazz and Hawks, the outcome of Tuesday’s game could be enormously consequential.

If the Jazz were to put 2.5 games between themselves and Atlanta, the odds of being overtaken by the Hawks in the final standings would take a significant hit.

If the Jazz were to fall to the Hawks, the two teams would be separated by just 0.5 games, and their odds of holding onto the pick would increase.

Jazz, Hawks Schedule After Tuesday Night

Though Tuesday night’s game will play a significant role in the 2024 draft, there is still more than a quarter of the season remaining on the NBA schedule.

The two teams will meet again on March 15 in Salt Lake City in another game that will have significant consequences in the standings.

According to opponent win percentage the Jazz have the second-toughest remaining schedule behind the Phoenix Suns, while the Hawks have the 12th most difficult.

While the Jazz are on the outside of the Play-In Tournament looking in, the Hawks currently own the 10th and final postseason spot in the East.

Atlanta sits 2.0 games back of the Chicago Bulls in the playoff race and could be motivated to move up in the Eastern Conference standings in order to host their first Play-In Tournament game.

On Sunday, it was announced that Hawks All-Star Trae Young would miss at least four weeks due to an injury on his left hand.

Atlanta is also playing without forward Onyeka Okongwu who has a sprained left toe, and is expected to be out for the “foreseeable future.”

The Hawks are 2-3 with Young out of the lineup.

What Else To Watch?

While the Jazz and Hawks will face off on Tuesday, fans should also be tracking the win-loss record of the Bulls and the Houston Rockets.

The Rockets and Hawks are tied with 25-32 records, both sitting 1.5 games back of the Jazz.

But, as the Hawks chase a likely Play-In Tournament berth, the Rockets sit 4.5 games back of the Warriors for the 10th seed in the West, and will likely begin position for lottery seeding towards the end of the year, making them harder to catch in the standings.

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Only one loss separates the Jazz and the Bulls in the standings, but like Atlanta, Chicago is fighting for the right to host their first Play-In Tournament game.

The Bulls own the eighth-easiest remaining schedule in the NBA this season, while the Rockets have the seventh-easiest.

The Jazz will play the Bulls on March 6, and will face the Rockets three times over the final 22 days of the NBA schedule.

How To Watch Jazz And Hawks

The Jazz will face the Hawks on Tuesday at 5:30 pm MST in Atlanta. The game will be televised on KJZZ, streamed on Jazz+, and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone.

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Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Quin Snyder, Hawks Play Key Role In Jazz Immediate Future