The Hidden Potential of the Atlanta Hawks
So where do I begin on this one? Well, let’s start with the only place I can start. In 2018, Trae Young, one of our most prominent stars in our league, was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the 5th overall pick. He was a prominent star, but lacking some of the confidence with shooting the ball at a comfortable rate (which changed very rapidly in his freshman year). Nonetheless, he was a great prospect to become one of the great star in the league.
The Atlanta Hawks, who had drafted Luka Doncic third, traded him for Trae Young and their future protected first first round pick (which they used to draft De’Andre Hunter, another future star in the making). Many debated the trade for so long after that, considering where each of the teams ended up after that (as of now, the Hawks hold the worst record in the league, with 8-31, while the Mavericks 6th in the West with 23-15). But one thing must be made certain: you can’t sleep on this hungry Hawks team.
It really does start with Trae Young, the future superstar in the franchise. He currently is 4th in the NBA in scoring and 4th in assists. Ironically, Luka Doncic is 3rd in both of those categories, right ahead of Trae. The flip side of Trae Young, however, is his turnovers, which he actually leads the league in with almost 5 per game. Luka, however, also holds 4th place in turnovers, and when you’re the main facilitator on your team, that’s bound to happen.
However, the real story is what the Hawks franchise has managed to surround Trae Young with.
John Collins is currently playing in his third NBA season, and he’s truly a beast on the block. When he was drafted in 2017, he averaged about 10.5 points per game and about 7 rebounds per game. Collins did reach his peak potential in 2018, when he averaged 20 and 10, making him a force to be reckoned with. This due to all the attention Trae Young was drawing due to his lethal shooting from deep. This year, the duo is a force to be reckoned with coming off of screens and playing the pick-and-roll. Trae Young has proved his scoring, but Collins 17 and 10, making him an offensive glass cleaner and being a headache for teams in the paint. Truly, a duo you can’t sleep on.
And their rotational players are just as deadly. De’Andre Hunter, a great pickup from UVA, is developing into a fine player in his own right, averaging 12 points, 2 assists, and 3 rebounds. Playing alongside Young will help Hunter develop into a lethal offensive weapon both in the paint and along the 3 point line, which he’s starting to get really comfortable with. Kevin Huerter is turning into a really nice pickup for the Hawks, averaging 11 with a three point percentage of almost 40%, making him a lethal weapon when you leave him open.
And one of the truly shocking players of the decade: Vince Carter. Half man, half amazing. What used to be years of him destroying players in the paint has turned him into a solid rotational player with a comfortable three point shooter. He doesn’t shoot it too well from there, averaging about 30%, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a headache if you leave him open. Only player to play in four different decades gives you special privileges on a starving team like the Hawks.
And their recent trade pickup only throws more extremities into the picture. Picking up Clint Capella, a solid big man who can heavily rebound the ball and score some easy points, is now here to assist Trae Young in keeping him happy and settled in Atlanta. Along with John Collins, this frontcourt duo is terrifying for defenses to have to conquer every night (especially for a team like the Houston Rockets, who have no guy above 7 feet). Currently, the roster that Atlanta boasts has weapons at almost every position, with developing players readily available to make the leap to allow the roster to have weapons at every position, a thought that could be formidable in a couple of years.
This year isn’t gonna go too well for them, and it’ll be a struggle to win 20 games for them, but the future holds extreme promise for a young Hawks team in a somewhat dying Eastern Conference. Who knows? Maybe in a couple years enough of their guys will be lethal enough to throw them in the Finals, same way that the 76ers have thrown themselves into contention by drafting high. It’s just a waiting game. But for now, we just have to marvel at Trae Young, and all the ice in his veins.