Hawks: ESPN’s re-draft of 2018 class has Trae Young going No. 3 overall

Atlanta Hawks Trae Young

Much has been made about the 2018 NBA Draft’s high-profile trade between the Hawks and Mavericks that sent Luka Doncic to Dallas and Trae Young to Atlanta. Both are superstars and will forever be linked because of the draft-day trade that sent the Hawks the rights to the No. 5 overall pick and a protected first-round pick while the Mavs landed the rights to the No. 3 overall pick.

Hawks fans think their team won the deal as Mavericks fans believe the opposite. In this particular exchange, it’s fair to say there are no losers. Both have led their organizations to the conference finals while earning All-NBA honors, and both are on supermax contracts. They’re the two best players from the 2018 draft class, or are they?

Ohm Youngmisuk and Brian Windhorst of ESPN did a re-draft, and Young found himself going third, because apparently, Youngmisuk would rather have the Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander instead.

Youngmisuk notes it is a difficult decision, but he went with SGA because of his physical stature and versatility, noting he could score in the clutch… Are you kidding me? I’m going to address each one of these.

First of all, when are smaller guards ever going to get their due? Steph Curry took heat for years for his frame until he started winning Finals and MVPs. Even at the beginning of his career, Kyrie Irving was given grief over his suboptimal size. In fact, Trae Young totaled 76 games last season while SGA only played in 56; Young’s 280 career games also tops SGA’s 243. So this notion that he’s not a durable star is ridiculous.

Secondly, SGA over Trae because of his versatility? Outside of the obvious struggles on the defensive end of the court, Young is better in every facet of the game on the offensive end. He’s a maestro in the pick-and-roll, can score at all three levels, and facilitates better than just about anyone in the Association.

In 2022, Young led the NBA in total points and assists, something only one other player — Tiny Archibald — has done. He averaged 28.2 points, 9.7 assists, and 3.7 rebounds per game on 46% shooting from the field and 38.2% from beyond the arc.

SGA, who is an impressive player in his own right, averaged 24.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game on 45.3% shooting from field and 30% from deep.

So, Youngmisuk wants the guy who averages fewer points and assists but one more rebound per game over the guy who has led his team to the Eastern Conference Finals? Sure, SGA’s defensive prowess is better than Young’s, but this has been and always will be a scoring league. Good offense beats good defense every single time in basketball.

This is just more of the same slander from the mainstream media. Hawks fans and Trae Young know exactly what Atlanta has — one of the best overall players in the league. SGA, while a talented player, isn’t even sniffing Young at this point in their respective careers.

Photo: Photo: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire

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