The 2019 NBA Draft will arrive soon enough, and the Atlanta Hawks are in a fantastic position, with the potential for five (!) picks in the top 45. While the final draft order won’t be set until mid-May, there is plenty to be excited about for Hawks fans, particularly when remembering that the team already has an intriguing young core in place.
Trae Young is prominently involved in that foundation and, on Monday morning, Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report went through an intriguing exercise that ultimately created a similar result for the Hawks. Wasserman, who is the site’s lead NBA Draft analyst, put together a “re-draft” of the 2018 class and, while there will be some controversy regarding the order, Young landed back with the Hawks, this time at No. 3 overall.
Seemingly written out of the Rookie of the Year debate entering the season, Trae Young went on to join Oscar Robertson and Damon Stoudamire as the only rookies to average at least 19.0 points and 8.0 assists.
After struggling the second half of last season at Oklahoma, leading to rumbles of skepticism, Young flipped the script this year by improving each month, averaging 23.6 points and 9.1 assists in his last 34 games.
By 2020, there won’t be many guards with equally elite shot-making and passing skills. The fact they’ve translated this quickly is what’s been so surprising and impressive.
In a re-draft, the Hawks make sure to add Young again—they just won’t receive the Dallas Mavericks’ future first-rounder on the side.
Young notched four NBA Rookie of the Month awards during his debut campaign and, in general, exceeded any rational expectation for his first professional season on the way to Rookie of the Year contention. At the very least, he would be in the discussion for the top slot in any re-draft but, in this case, Hawks fans probably won’t complain too much about the specific order, given that their guy would be returning to Atlanta.
Later, Kevin Huerter skyrocketed from No. 19 to No. 10 in this mock scenario, landing with the Philadelphia 76ers. That, of course, further illustrates that the Hawks were able to get a steal when Huerter fell to them in the middle of the first round, and he is another player that performed ahead of where expectations pegged his performance as a rookie.
Omari Spellman didn’t make the final cut in the top 30, with the Hawks instead adding Allonzo Trier (No. 19) and Hamidou Diallo (No. 30). That could be traced to Spellman battling injury but, in the grand scheme, the 2018 draft will be tied to the performance of Young, most prominently, and Huerter.
That leaves the Hawks in a very nice place. Stay tuned.