Trae Young Says Luka Doncic Trade 'Worked Out' for Both Hawks and Mavericks

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 28, 2019

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 24: Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks and Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks talk before the game on October 24, 2018 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Atlanta Hawks rookie Trae Young thought both teams walked away winners from the draft-night trade that landed him in Atlanta and sent Luka Doncic to the Dallas Mavericks.

Young offered his take on the move during an appearance on ESPN's The Jump on Monday:

"Obviously I hear everything that goes on. You can't miss it. Luka's having a really good year so far. And for me, all I do is try to focus on myself and my team. I know it's easy to say, but I'm really dedicated to working extremely hard every day for my teammates and things like that. And I think at the end of the day it worked out for both teams. That's how I look at it. I mean, Luka's doing really well. I feel like I'm doing really well as well."

Some Hawks fans might dispute Young's opinion.

Doncic is averaging 20.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists this season, adapting to the NBA far quicker than most expected. The 19-year-old is the runaway favorite for Rookie of the Year.

Young, on the other hand, is a work in progress. He's averaging 16.2 points but shooting 40.2 percent from the floor and 29.0 percent from three-point range. Out of 478 players, Young ranks 461st in ESPN.com's real plus-minus (minus-3.79).

Of course, it would be foolish to hand out any final grades to Dallas or Atlanta. Young believes he'll be considered the better player when the question is revisited in five to 10 years: "In my eyes, it's not a question—it's going to be me. But that's just the competitive nature in my blood, and I think that's the no-brainer with me." 

Rookie point guards have a steep learning curve with the speed of the NBA, and Young didn't spend years playing professionally overseas like Doncic. De'Aaron Fox was a mess as a rookie but has taken a big leap in year two. Perhaps Young can replicate Fox's rapid development in 2019-20.

The Hawks' full return from the trade isn't clear, either. Atlanta will receive a first-round pick from Dallas that is top-five protected in 2019 and 2020 and top-three protected in 2021 and 2022. According to Tankathon, the Mavs have the 11th-best lottery odds, so the Hawks are poised to have two lottery picks in the 2019 draft.

Doncic is obviously outplaying Young at the moment. In a few years' time, Young may have bridged the gap enough to justify the Hawks' decision to effectively pick him over Doncic as the face of their rebuild.

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