Will the Hawks oblige to Trae Young’s wishes?

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Trae Young has been the only reason to watch Atlanta basketball early this season, averaging 28.8 points and 8.4 assists per contest. His passing is already among the league’s greats, and it has been since last season, but it’s been his improvements as a scorer from year one to year two that his him in the conversation for the league’s best point guard (yes, you read that right).

Despite that, the Hawks are among the worst records in the league, winning only six of their first 23 games. But a lot of that has to do with some unfortunate circumstances.

Kevin Huerter began the year on a minutes restriction off the bench after missing the entire preseason. And right after he began to start feeling like himself again, he suffered a rotator cuff strain that forced him to miss nearly a month. Young’s right-hand man, John Collins, also hasn’t been on the floor much, as he’s in the middle of a 25-game suspension for PED’s that is scheduled to finish at the end of the month. Without them, Young’s been left playing with Jabari Parker, a few rookies, and a bunch of players most NBA fans haven’t even heard of. It doesn’t matter how good the Hawks’ star point guard plays; on most nights, the Hawks are walking into the arena without a chance to win. And Trae Young is fed up.

According to a report by Shams Charania of The Athletic, there was a lot of emotion coming from the Hawks point guard following a recent loss, and it sounds like the 21-year-old is clamoring for some help.

If you’ve followed Young since he’s entered the league, you are well aware all he cares about is winning. The stats and the accolades are nice, but you’ll never see him sound satisfied after a game if his team has lost. That is just who he is and who he has always been.

So it’s no surprise that, following another blowout loss, Young may have let his emotions get the best of him. This kind of thing happens almost nightly in the NBA, especially with struggling teams, and often it washes over by the next day. However, it’s clear Trae Young is looking for some help, and the trade deadline is not too far away. Could the Hawks oblige to his wishes and find him some?

Young may not want to hear this, but the short answer is it is highly unlikely. Travis Schlenk has had a vision since the beginning: Acquire young talent, stockpile draft picks, and maintain financial flexibility. So far, he’s done a fantastic job of that, and he’s not going to waver just because his best player is antsy to win now.

The fact of the matter is the Hawks are far away from competing in the Eastern Conference. Perhaps with John Collins and Kevin Huerter back and healthy, they can make a run for the final playoff spot, but that’s not one of Schlenk’s goals. If it happens, fantastic, but he’s not going to make a rash move to jeopardize the future of this team, and it doesn’t look like the trade market is going to feature many pieces the Hawks will be interested in long-term.

If I had to guess, the opposite of what Young wants is much more likely to happen. The only other player that has been playing up to par for the Hawks has been Jabari Parker, who has had a renaissance early on in Atlanta. Unfortunately, he’s on a one-year deal with a player option for next season – one that he will ultimately opt-out of. Knowing that; it makes sense for Travis Schlenk to cash in on Parker while he can, who could fetch a first-round pick and more from a team hoping to make the playoffs.

I will say, however, if Collins and Huerter return, and the Hawks begin to win, Schlenk may hold off on trading anybody away. While reaching the playoffs may not be his top priority, he does appreciate what a winning culture can teach a young group of guys, which is why he held off on trading away significant pieces at last year’s trade deadline.

Still, don’t expect anything hasty to come from the Hawks just because of some frustration in the locker room. Young may be unhappy now, but in a couple of years, he will be happy he wasn’t in charge. Schlenk is going to continue to act accordingly, looking at the big picture rather than how Atlanta can attempt to win this season.



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