With the first competitive roster in his career, Trae Young led the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals. Now, for the first time in his brief career, Young will have a fellow All-Star on his team. Atlanta kicked off the NBA offseason by acquiring Dejounte Murray from San Antonio before free agency even began.
After reaching the conference finals, expectations were sky-high for the club. Travis Schlenk opted to run it back with the same roster that made it within a couple of games of the NBA Finals, but it ended up being the wrong decision. The Hawks struggled for much of the regular season last year and had to go through two play-in games to make it to the playoffs.
Once in the postseason, Atlanta was absolutely manhandled by Miami. The Heat double-teamed Young the entire series, resulting in the worst stretch of basketball in the point guard’s career. There was an obvious need for a co-star in Atlanta, preferably one that could alleviate pressure from Young when teams play him aggressively; it’d be helpful too if that co-star was a defensive asset. Enter Murray, who had a stark warning for the rest of the league during a visit to one of the team’s Summer League contests.
“Number one, you can’t double. That’s big in this league and obviously, Trae has been to the playoffs, had some success in the playoffs…. When you have two guys you have to pick your poison. And you know for me, it’s just I don’t fall into none of that. I’m a hooper, Trae a hooper. The ultimate goal is to win basketball games and championships.”
"I wanna win championships in Atlanta. I think he can ultimately help take us to that level."
Ice is ready for DM5 pic.twitter.com/YZoIN1mBbT
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) July 10, 2022
The Hawks are probably one piece away from being serious title contenders, but the addition of Murray is going to work wonders for Young’s career. Many pundits will point to the ball-handling duties as a downside of the trade, but Ice Trae is capable of playing off-ball. He’s just never been afforded the opportunity to showcase that facet of his game.
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