Ray Young, the father of Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young, said the flurry of moves by Eastern Conference teams ahead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline is a response to his son leading the Hawks to the conference finals in last year's playoffs.
Ray Young @rayfordyoung
Y’all can think or say what you want. But my son SHOOK UP THE WHOLE EASTERN CONFERENCE after last seasons Playoff run……Got every team scrambling! All good though, he’s just 23……JUST GETTING STARTED. That’s a PROMISE🏀❤️💯<a href="https://twitter.com/NBA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBA</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/ATLHawks?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ATLHawks</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBATradeDeadline?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBATradeDeadline</a>
Atlanta was the surprise team of the 2021 postseason as it eliminated the New York Knicks and then upset the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers before falling short against the eventual NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks in the East finals.
While it's unlikely front offices are fixated on the Hawks' run as their main motivation to upgrade their own rosters, their journey within two wins of the Finals showed it's still possible to make an unexpected deep run and the East certainly has a wide-open feel right now.
Just 2.5 games separate the No. 1 seed Miami Heat (35-20) and the No. 5 seed Philadelphia 76ers, who completed the biggest trade of all Thursday by acquiring James Harden from the Brooklyn Nets as part of a blockbuster also featuring Ben Simmons, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
It headlined a flurry of moves around the league as several teams tried to bolster their rotations for a potential playoff run. The play-in tournament has increase the number of squads with at least some hope of making some postseason noise.
Young and the Hawks find themselves on the fringe as their 26-28 record ranks 10th in the conference, meaning they hold the final play-in berth as it currently stands. Their level of play will need to improve significantly over the next few months to match last year's run.
Even if Atlanta doesn't emerge as a contender again this season, Young's dad thinks his son's team is still making a major impact on the NBA.