Atlanta Hawks rookie Trae Young will be under the microscope all season after Atlanta traded down out of the No. 3 pick to take him (and pick up a first rounder next year) at No. 5 overall. Young and Mavs rookie Luka Doncic will, whether fair or not, find themselves compared to each other for at least the early part of their careers if not forever linked because of the draft day trade.
A night after Doncic had a big game in a win over the Timberwolves, to give the Mavs their first win of the season, Young came out on fire in Cleveland to do the same for Atlanta. The rookie finished with 35 points in the game on 13-of-23 shooting, and hit 6-of-14 three-point attempts and was a +19 in a game the Hawks ran away with late to win by a final score of 133-111.
Young had 21 of his points in the first half, with 18 of those coming in the second quarter, leading the Hawks back from what was at one point a 22-7 deficit to take a halftime lead over the Cavs, pulling from way outside on some three-point attempts.
Once he found his range, he had that look we saw a lot early in the year at Oklahoma last season, firing from well beyond the arc with confidence and success.
Young wasn’t just producing for the Hawks by scoring, he also dished out 11 assists in the game, showing off his tremendous passing acumen to find cutters going to the rim.
It was the exact kind of performance Young’s supporters entering the draft thought he could have in the NBA, and for the Hawks its a glimpse at the potential of their franchise point guard of the future. It’s the first time a rookie point guard has had 35 points and 10 assists in a game since…you guessed it, Steph Curry.
There will be down nights, like his opener against the Knicks, but when he gets it going from deep it draws defenders out and opens up opportunities for him to attack and create for himself and others in the pick-and-roll game.