Welcome to Atlanta Trae Young… now take the keys to the franchise.
In reality, this is how it is. The Hawks have put all their trust in 19-year-old former Oklahoma star Trae Young.
Atlanta traded the third overall pick in the 2018 draft to the Dallas Mavaricks, which they then decided to draft Luka Doncic, from Real Madrid. The Hawks also received a 2019 top-five protected first round pick.
This moved shocked a lot of people around the league. Leaving some Hawks fans in disbelief, while others were optimistic.
A few weeks later, the Hawks decided to move on from guard Dennis Schröder, who was at one-point looked at as the point guard of the future. But when Young joined the Hawks it was obvious that they had a change of plans.
Travis Schlenk, Atlanta Hawks General Manager, has always showed a lot a faith in Young and his ability and there was always a feeling that Schlenk would like to have Young on the Hawks.
While in rebuild mode a team needs to find that one guy that they can build around and find pieces that compliment that player. In their second year in the rebuild process Atlanta might have just found their main guy in Young and some of the pieces are already aligned.
Young has the potential to be a star in the NBA because of popularity alone.
Young is already a very popular player because of his dominance in college and his exciting play-style. This can be a good and also a bad thing for a rookie because they are expected to live up to the hype immediately.
Having a lot of fans comes with even more haters.
The Hawks participated in the Utah Summer League, which they played three games. Young didn’t shoot well in any of those games only knocking down 3-24 from behind the 3-point line and it was heard in the media. Some of “NBA Twitter” has already began to bash the young guard after a short preview of what he was about.
Before Young entered the league, there was already a concern from people because of his size and how he matches up against other NBA point guards. However, Young continued to show the confidence and shot the ball with no hesitation, also showing a high level of playmaking ability in the Las Vegas Summer League finishing the summer with solid play averaging 17 points per game and 6.8 assists.
(House of Highlights via Youtube)
Young’s name is already well known by NBA stars around the league and they seem to like what they see from Young. He has been seen working out with some of the best around the league such as, Houston Rockets stars James Harden, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony.
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) August 17, 2018
The Denver Nuggets rookie forward Michael Porter Jr. also jumped and defended Young after a slow start telling fans to “keep that same energy,” which has turned into Young’s new slogan.
Young’s popularity has already had an effect on the Hawks. After Young started to light it up in Las Vegas, the hawks began receiving more coverage during the Summer League than they have in the regular season in a very long time.
Last year, the Hawks weren’t able to even notch one national televise game, however, this year Atlanta will be on national television for their first game on the season when they go against Luka Doncic and the Mavericks. Unfortunately this will be the Hawks only national game.
The skill set is definitely there with Young but is he talented and determined enough to get past being an undersized guard?
The three ball is quickly becoming the most effective way of scoring in the NBA and Young can shoot with some of the best shooters in the league. But Young did show signs of inconsistent shooting at the college level at some points, however, he was asked to shoot the ball a lot and was put in situations where he had to make a big play, which led to bad shots. Hopefully in the NBA he will be able to become more comfortable and able to take good shots on a consistent basis.
Young’s ability to shoot was what stood out on the draft board. However, his playmaking ability is possibly his best trait and it was definitely on display in the summer league.
Young playmaking ability is comparable to the legendary Steve Nash and with the added skill to shoot from anywhere on the court, Young will cause some problems for opponents if he is able to put it all together.
(NBA via Youtube)
He will have to continue to work on his handle to create more space against taller opponents so he is able to get a shot off. A lot of times during the summer league, Young made a good move, however the a gap wasn’t there and his attempt to the basket was either rejected or was too difficult of a shot for it to fall in.
Defense will be a concern for Young, however, if Young is able to just show effort on that end then it wont be a huge problem.
Their is definitely a lot of pressure on Young because of the hype that has surrounded him this past year. And after the Schröder trade more pressure was added.
Young is going to get the chance to shine now and he is going to be looked at as the face of the Hawks. Fans will expect production fast. However, this isn’t fair for the rookie guard. It will take time for him to develop and find his way in the big leagues and fans will need to be patient with the process.
With Schröder gone Young will have the freedom in his first year to get a lot of experience running a team in the NBA.
Let’s face it, the Hawks aren’t expected to compete this year, so Young is going to be able to make mistakes, which he will because that’s what rookies do. However, this opportunity will be very good for him.
Young is going to be able to lead this team and become comfortable playing with some of the core guys such as John Collins, Taurean Prince and Kent Bazemore.
The Hawks have also went out and brought in veteran guys that will help the rookie such as, Vince Carter and Jeremy Lin.
Their will be plenty of opportunities for him to learn and continue to perfect his craft and prove the doubters wrong.
Daric Clemens | @DClemens_