The Hawks begin a new era in October with Trae Young and Dejounte Murray at the helm. Four years ago, Atlanta drafted Young and completely changed the franchise’s trajectory. He was immediately the team’s best player, and the organization finally surrounded him with a competent supporting cast two offseasons ago.
With the first competitive roster in his career, Ice Trae led the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals. Travis Schlenk, resting on his laurels, decided to run it back with the same squad, which was a mistake. The team struggled for much of the regular season and was worse in the playoffs.
Miami absolutely manhandled Atlanta after surviving two play-in games. 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.
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 when they acquired Dejounte Murray, and he 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.”
The pair gives the Hawks one of (if not) the best backcourt in the Association. Young is excited and isn’t shying away from expectations, speaking with NBA TV during the Summer League.
“I just know what type of player he is. I know what he can bring to our team. I wanna win championships in Atlanta. I think he can ultimately help take us to that level. We’ve been in the playoffs, we’ve been on a run, but I think he can take us to that next level,” Young shared when asked about Murray and why he wanted to team up with him.
Nate McMillan, Landry Fields, and many talking heads have also praised the potential of Young and Murray on the same team. Well, add Hawks legend and Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins to the list of compliments, telling reporters they can be one of the top backcourts in the NBA this season, which is saying something considering the Warriors (Steph and Klay) and Suns (CP3 and Book) boast impressive duos in their own right.
Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins on how good the backcourt of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray can be next season: “One of the top two or three backcourts in the NBA.” pic.twitter.com/mbmHdisWWh
— Wenzell Ortiz (@wenzellortiz) July 15, 2022
In my eyes, the Hawks are one piece away from being serious title contenders. Many pundits will point to the ball-handling duties between Murray and Young as a downside of the trade, but Trae is capable of playing off-ball. He’s just never been afforded the opportunity to showcase that facet of his game. Regardless, it’ll be exciting to see the two emerging stars grow together.