Travis Schlenk and the Atlanta Hawks will be very busy throughout the 2018 NBA Draft but, with the team’s first selection at No. 5 overall, the Hawks shed the reported script, executed a trade with the Dallas Mavericks, and selected Oklahoma point guard Trae Young.
For an extensive breakdown of Young’s work, you can check out our pre-draft scouting report here, but this is certainly a controversial pick. Throughout the pre-draft process, there was certainly buzz that Young could be a player in Atlanta’s sights but, in the lead-up to draft night itself, it was hard to nail down just how strong the team’s interest actually was.
Obviously, it proved to be real and Young’s upside on the offensive end is tantalizing. Comparisons to Stephen Curry are certainly (quite) aggressive but Young’s combination of shooting, particularly off the dribble, and high-end passing creates a very high ceiling.
In the same breath, there are at least some concerns about his frame, as Young was one of the smallest players in the entire class and seemed to wear down over the course of the college basketball season. It is fair to say that he was asked to carry an over-sized load at Oklahoma but skeptics of Young will point to his body and lack of elite athleticism as reasons for legitimate concern.
Beyond that, it is widely accepted that Young’s defensive profile is not encouraging. As noted above, he is quite small and, without high-end burst or strength, it is easy to see him being targeted at the NBA level. Point guard defense is likely overrated at this point in the modern game but, in the same breath, Young will need to become passable on that end of the floor in order to reach his ultimate ceiling.
The Hawks are investing heavily in the projection of Young as a potentially elite offensive piece and it will be very interesting to see how his career flows from this point moving forward.