During the 2018 NBA draft, the Atlanta Hawks made a surprising decision when they traded the draft rights to Luka Doncic to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for the draft rights to Trae Young and a 2019 first-round pick. Since the controversial deal, people can’t help themselves but make comparisons between Doncic and Young. Both young players are currently establishing an impressive performance in the 2018-19 NBA season but as of now, Doncic is the top favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award.
In a recent interview with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, Trae Young admitted that Luka Doncic is having a tremendous year, but he strongly believes that he has a chance of being named the 2018-19 Rookie of the Year. This season, the 20-year-old point guard is averaging 18.4 points, 7.8 assists, and 3.5 rebounds on 41.1 percent shooting from the field and 33.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Trae Young knows that he and Doncic will be going to be connected and talked about until the end of their NBA careers. As of now, Young said that he’s doing his best to handle the comparisons with Doncic and Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry professionally.
“I’ve heard it all and I’m used to it. I know how to handle it by now.”
Despite Trae Young’s outstanding performance, the Hawks are still unable to secure a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference for the second consecutive year. That’s somewhat expected from a team mostly consisted of young players. However, the Hawks don’t intend to stay at the bottom of the league for long. Young is confident that the Hawks will be going to be an attractive destination for incoming free agents next summer.
“Oh, I definitely think this is going to be a big spot that free agents look at. I mean, we’re a very young team, but we’ve been playing really well lately and this is an exciting team and an exciting city. I think we’re maybe one or two pieces away from really making that jump and taking off. I definitely think this is an attractive city [and situation]. And I’m not a tampering guy or anything like that, but I think I’m a good recruiter – for sure.”
After the 2018-19 NBA season, the Hawks are set to have $42.4 million salary cap space that they could use to chase the likes of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, DeMarcus Cousins, and Kemba Walker in the 2019 NBA free agency. Though they currently have one of the most promising young core in the league, the Hawks are definitely aware that they need at least one legitimate NBA superstar to make a huge impact in the Eastern Conference. According to Basketball Insiders, the Hawks’ salary cap space could rise to $60.7 million if Kent Bazemore decides to opt out of the final year of his contract.