Catching up with the Rooks

Coach and the Rooks (ATLHawks)

While Trae Young is getting all the hype, the trio of Atlanta rooks are making waves.

With the 5th, 19th and 30th picks in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks selected Trae Young, Kevin Huerter and Omari Spellman.

The much discussed move that swapped Luka Doncic for Trae Young was criticized by many (including myself) at the time. It didn’t take long for me to warm up to Trae Young. Admittedly, I was a huge Dennis Schroder fan but that’s another story for another day.

Through nine games, the three rookies are combining to average over 30 PPG and are a vital part of Coach Lloyd Pierce’s rotation.

Let’s take a deeper look at each one’s impact so far.

Omari Spellman

Omari Spellman joined the Hawks as the 30th overall pick after helping lead Villanova to the National Championship.

Spellman has appeared in eight games including one start vs the Miami Heat. His averages of 6.6 PPG and 4.1 APG don’t jump off the stat sheet but he does the little things that make coaches happy.

In just his second career appearance, Spellman put together a masterful performance in a 133-111 win over the Cavs. Omari scored 17 Points and hit four threes in the rout.

Going forward, expect Spellman to be that high energy, do it all guy that can do the dirty work. The soft comparisons to a poor man’s Draymond Green appear to be a good indicator.

Unfortunately for Spellman, he could see his minutes dip a bit when John Collins comes back in the coming weeks.

Kevin Huerter

The 19th pick in the draft came to the Hawks from the University of Maryland after a standout season for the Terps.

After missing the entire summer due to injury, my expectations out the gate were low for the guard. Coupled with a dismal preseason, I didn’t see Huerter breaking the initial rotation and even thought he would need some time in the G-League to get started.

However, Kevin has proved to be a valuable piece early on. In just 15.7 MPG, the rookie is averaging 5.7 PPG and 3.3 RPG. The most impressive stat however is his blazing .458 percentage from deep.

He’s more than just a shooter however. Once Kevin adds a bit more bulk he could become a very good two way player. Expect him to look better and better as he continues to get more comfortable.

Trae Young

Roughly a year ago, not many people knew who Trae Young was. By mid December, everyone knew who Trae Young was. Despite having a Point Guard putting up “decent” numbers, Hawks fans were clamoring for management to draft Young in the upcoming draft.

After teams were able to lock on to Trae down the stretch, much of that noise subsided. That was until his workout with the Hawks. Many Hawks’ reporters witnessed something they hadn’t seen before when Lloyd Pierce personally guarded Trae in some of the drills. Migos star Quavo also proclaimed that the Hawks should draft Trae.

On Draft night, rumors were swirling that the Hawks were looking to move back and snag Trae. Moments before the 3rd pick was announced, news broke that Atlanta and Dallas had agreed to swap picks. The crowd at the Hawks’ Member draft party was none too pleased. Coupled with a slow start to Summer League, some were even proclaiming him a bust. He would recover and finish strong as well as dazzle in the preseason. Safe to say, most of us are happy now.

Through nine games Trae Young is averaging 19.1 PPG, 3.2 RPG and 7.9 APG.  Just like in college, he is capturing league wide attention and breaking records.

Despite his absurd shooting abilities, the best part of his game may be his passing / court vision and his ability to drive toward the hoop and create contact.

Even in games where the shot isn’t falling, he still has a noticeable impact on the game with his play making abilities and ability to get to the free throw line.

His average of 7.9 APG is incredible considering the lack of talent around him and teammates constantly not being ready or able to handle for his passes. As time goes on, John Collins returns and players get more comfortable there is no reason why Trae can’t average 11 APG.

The sky is the limit for the young guard. We’ve finally got us one, Atlanta. It’s time to get excited. #KeepThatSameEnergy

Phil Veasley | @_ATLPhil Twitter/IG


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