Rethinking NBA Offseason Moves We Judged Too Quickly – Bleacher Report

John Bazemore/Associated Press

Trae Young has not surpassed Luka Doncic on the NBA’s rookie ladder. Not even close. Doncic is still the better prospect. Years down the line, the Atlanta Hawks will probably look back at the 2018 draft and know they traded away the best player in the class.

They just might not care.

Having the Kings as a shield is part of it. They passed on Doncic for Marvin Bagley without nabbing any compensation for their decision. The Hawks snagged a top-five-protected pick from the Dallas Mavericks for moving down two spots. But Young needs to play well enough for that to be considered equal value. 

Guess what? He’s doing just that.

Pay no mind to Young’s offensive efficiency. He’s shooting under 30 percent from distance, and Atlanta is scraping together fewer than 100 points per 100 possessions when he plays. Whatever. Learning curves are a real thing—especially at the point guard position.

Rookies and sophomores deserve leeway, and Young is passing the eye test. His handles are sick, and he’s comfortable manufacturing space from scratch. The level of difficulty on his shots is through the roof. Over 43 percent of his attempts are coming as pull-up jumpers, and more than 40 percent are contested looks. His passing makes up for the remaining gap in efficiency. 

“Young doesn’t pound the ball or even have to penetrate in order to draw help and find an open man. Guys simply run the floor faster and cut into space harder, knowing he’ll hit them on the money if/when they get open,” Vice Sports’ Michael Pina wrote. “His kick-aheads alone deserve to be nominated by the MacArthur Fellows Program.”

Right now, the Hawks have Young playing with two or more non-spacers at every turn. Surround him with more established shooters, and the numbers will rival

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