Grade and Breakdown of the Hawks trade for Trae Young

Hawks trade the 3rd overall pick to the Dallas Mavericks for the 5th overall pick and a 2019 protected first-round pick

If you do not know by now, the trade essentially ended up being Luka Doncic for Trae Young and a top-five protected first-round pick. The pick will be top-five protected for two seasons, top-three protected in 2021 and unprotected in 2022. This info is from Mavericks President of Basketball Operations Donnie Nelson.

Trae Young was undoubtedly the most polarizing player coming into this draft. And as Hawks fans may have already found out, he is going to continue to be one of the most talked about athletes in all of sports heading into his rookie season. Simply put, everyone has an opinion and everyone wants to see if this guy can hang with the big boys in the NBA. Can there really be another Steph Curry? I am not sure, but we have definitely seen our fair share of Jimmer Fredette’s enter the league and are out of it quicker than the Brooklyn Nets could buy out Dwight Howard’s contract.

Young will head into the NBA at 6’2″, a generous 180 pounds and still a teenager. There will be growing pains at the next level and loads of criticism, but Young has shown thick-skin through the entire process, something that will be required if he wants to be successful.

Going all the way back to high school (only two years ago), Young was an offensive superstar averaging a ridiculous 42.6 points per game. After being named a McDonald’s All-American, he took his talents to Oklahoma where he did not skip a beat. The first half of the college basketball season belonged to Trae Young. He was averaging over 30 points and 10 assists, breaking records on a daily basis and basically the cover of SportsCenter.

The second half of the season was a struggle. Young saw his fair share of double and triple teams, his turnover numbers skyrocketed and the Sooners found themselves on their hands and knees searching for a single win. The star point guard did not get a lot of help from his teammates, but Young will not shy away from the fact that he has to be better than that.

Even after the Sooners struggles in the second half of the season, Young finished with the most points and most assists in college basketball, the first time a player has ever done that, let alone a freshman. That speaks to Young’s ability as an all-around player. He is more than just a sharpshooter with an inhuman release time, he is one of the best ball-handlers in the draft with terrific vision. It is those traits that he will have to continue to rely on when his shot is not working at the next level.

The biggest thing for Young to improve on is his size and defense. Sure, he cannot take a potion that will make him sprout up a few inches, but he can add some muscle to his small frame. He was often taken advantage of as a defender in college. That will continue to happen, especially early on in his career. However, Young should not develop into the next Isaiah Thomas as a defender where he has to be hidden all over the court. It is just going to take a couple years for Young to catch up from a physical aspect. After all, he is only nineteen years old.

While I do not blame the Hawks for trading back and getting their guy, they might have left a little food on the table. There was probably not another team in the top five eyeing Trae Young, and preliminary trade talks with the Mavericks included Dallas eating the final two years of Kent Bazemore’s contract, as reported by ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. Instead the Hawks end up with a protected first-round pick, which could turn out quite valuable if Dallas cannot return to the playoffs next season, but if Atlanta wants to call themselves “winners” of this trade, Trae Young needs to be a better player than Luka Doncic.

As the season approaches, the comparisons between Young and Steph Curry are going to be abundant, and it is easy to see why. Their college stat lines, jump shots, handles and body type are all eerily similar. The problem with that comparison is there is only one Steph Curry, and there was nobody like Steph Curry before Curry entered the league. But greatness is meant to be replicated, and Trae Young might just have the formula.

Trade Grade: C


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