Despite the fact that John Collins was the only first round draft pick for the Atlanta Hawks in 2017, the team was well represented in NBA.com’s annual rookie survey. Collins did not “win” any of the categories (which isn’t surprising for the No. 19 pick) but he was recognized for athleticism and upside, which proved to be wise in retrospect.
This week, the 2018-19 version came to light from NBA.com’s John Schuhmann and, as you may expect, Trae Young was heavily involved. As the No. 5 pick, it would have been a legitimate stunner if Young was not included multiple times and, of course, it also helps to be the most famous player in this year’s rookie crop.
In the end, Young brought home the theoretical hardware as the “best shooter” and “best playmaker” in the class. The former Oklahoma guard has been lauded for his ability to stretch the floor as a shooter and that comes through with his particular honor. However, his passing has long been undervalued and, after a breakout showing in Summer League under that umbrella, his fellow rookies have taken notice.
Kevin Huerter also drew attention for his long-distance shooting, amusingly finishing second to Young in the “best shooter” category. 60 percent of the overall vote went to Young (47 percent) and Huerter (13 percent) and that definitely aligns with Travis Schlenk’s stated mission to flood the floor with players who are able to provide space. Teammate and fellow first-round pick Omari Spellman also received at least one vote on the survey, as he was grouped with the “others receiving votes” in the category of “best defender.”
Lastly, Young garnered votes for Rookie of the Year (where he finished fifth) and “best career” but, perhaps more importantly, he became the first player in the history of the survey to lead in both the shooting and playmaking categories. It will be very interesting to see if Young can live up to the considerable hype from his peers but everyone seems to be aligned in thinking that his offensive traits are off the charts.