Per Chris Vivlamore of the AJC, when asked about who will be the starting point guard for the Hawks to start the season, head coach Lloyd Pierce responded with “competition”.
I asked Lloyd Pierce who will start at point guard – Jeremy Lin or Trae Young. “Competition,” was the answer referring to training camp.
— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) September 20, 2018
Veteran coach speak from a first year head coach, giving us little information before training camp begins. Sure, there will be competition, as Lin has proven that he is a quality NBA body in multiple stops during his career. But make so mistake about it, this is Trae Young’s job to lose.
This is not the NFL, where you groom a player for a year before throwing him into the fire. This the NBA, and in the NBA, top five draft picks start. That rule applies even more so to teams who trade out of the top three to select “their guy” with the fifth overall pick. The Hawks may have acquired a 2019 protected first-round pick in the deal as well, but they had to feel incredibly confident that Young would be a cornerstone piece to make such a move.
Not every situation is the same. Maybe if Young was drafted by a competitive team with an established point guard, this would be a different conversation. But no, Young was selected by the tanking Hawks whose next best option is Jeremy Lin, a Harvard grad averaging 12 points and 4.5 assists over his career. Not to mention, he has only managed to play in 37 games over the last two seasons and is coming off an ruptured patella injury.
There is only one way for Young to get adjusted: Play. Atlanta is going to be miserable this season, but it will provide invaluable experience to their multitude of young players that are tasked with turning the franchise around. The Hawks have absolutely no reason to begin the season with Trae Young coming off the bench. You don’t invest a top-three pick in a guy so he can ride the pine in year one.
Unless of course, they made an egregious mistake in draft process. That would come as no surprise from an organization that has failed to create a winning culture since moving to Atlanta fifty years ago. Regardless, Trae Young has to be the starting point guard on October 17th when the Hawks kick off their season at Madison Square Garden.