During the 2018 NBA Draft, the Atlanta Hawks made a surprising move when they engaged in a trade deal with the Dallas Mavericks. The Hawks decided to send the draft rights to Luka Doncic to the Mavericks in exchange for the draft picks to Trae Young and a top-five protected first-round pick in 2019.
Both rookies have managed to establish an impressive performance in the 2018-19 NBA season, but as of now, most people believe that Luka Doncic is more capable of leading a franchise to title contention than Trae Young. Despite only being 19-years-old, Doncic is already able to match up against elite players in the league. In the first 55 games he played in the NBA, the Slovenian small forward is averaging 20.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.0 steal on 43.0 percent shooting from the field and 34.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Despite the noticeable difference between Luka Doncic and Trae Young, the Hawks don’t seem to have any regret having a draft night trade negotiation with the Mavericks. In a recent appearance on The Woj Pod, Hawks General Manager Travis Schlenk admitted that if they have kept the No. 3 overall pick, they would have selected Doncic. However, Schlenk and the Hawks decided to make a deal with the Mavericks after Dallas agreed to include a 2019 first-round pick in the trade package.
“Not a lot of people know this…if we stayed at 3, we would have taken Luka. We had worked with his agent, he did a physical with us that morning in New York…but then Dallas came in an hour or so before the draft. I told them all along that it would take another lottery pick for us to slide back, and that’s when the conversations got started,” Schlenk said, as transcribed by RealGM.
As Dirk Nowitzki passes the torch in Dallas, rookie sensation Luka Doncic has proven he's ready to carry the Mavericks. https://t.co/K60F2nXjiN— USA TODAY NBA (@usatodaynba) February 18, 2019
Though the 2019 first-round pick the Mavericks sent to Atlanta is a top-5 protected, Hawks General Manager Travis Schlenk is confident that they would get the selection, saying that their analytics staff predicted Dallas to finish eight in the reverse standings in the 2018-19 NBA season. The Hawks’ projection does seem to be pretty accurate as the Mavericks currently hold the ninth-worst record in the league. The Hawks are expected to use the pick to add another young and talented player who could fit alongside Trae Young.
While the Hawks are heading into a lengthy rebuild, Luka Doncic and the Mavericks are already expected to make huge noise in the 2019-20 NBA season. Before the February NBA trade deadline, the Mavericks engaged in a blockbuster deal with the New York Knicks to acquire Latvian center Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis is still recovering from an injury, but when he returns 100 percent healthy, his tandem with Doncic could turn the Mavericks into a team to fear in the deep Western Conference.