John Collins

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Trae Young says it’s too early to judge who won/lost Luka Doncic draft night trade

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Luka Doncic is already a star, a guy in the MVP discussion, and the cornerstone of the Mavericks franchise in just his second season. All that at age 20. It follows from what he did for Real Madrid in Europe, where he was the EuroLeague MVP at 19.

That has fans of the Suns (Deandre Ayton), Kings (Marvin Bagley III), and the Hawks — who traded Doncic to get Trae Young and another first-round pick — looking back at the 2018 NBA Draft and asking, “how did we miss on Doncic, exactly?”

Young has racked up impressive numbers this season — scoring 29.1 points and dishing out 8.5 assists per game, and he leads East guards in the All-Star fan voting — but the Hawks are a dreadful 9-32 and dead last in the East. Meanwhile, Doncic and the Mavericks are 25-15 in the West, and Doncic is helping his team win games.

Young said the Hawks and Mavericks were teams in different places and its not fair to compare them or judge the trade yet. Via Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report:

“[Doncic’s] on a team, and they’ve got more veterans and is a team that’s more looking to win now,” Young told Bleacher Report. “We’re more of a team that wants to win now, but we’re focusing more on developing, and we’re one of the youngest teams in the league. It’s just two totally different situations, so it’s just hard to really judge who won or lost [the trade] right now. I don’t really pay too much attention to it. I just try and focus on my team and how I can help my team. Maybe down the road at the end of our careers, I think that can be a topic of discussion, but right now, I don’t pay too much attention to it.”

Young is right. The Hawks are young and building with himself, John Collins, Cam Reddish, De'Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter, and the rest of a young core. Dallas is a roster better positioned to win right now.

That said, Doncic has looked more like the complete player and more like a guy who can lead a team to contention — he’s doing a lot of that in his second season. Doncic’s not a great defender but he’s better than Young, who is part of the defensive problem in Atlanta.

It’s too early to say Atlanta made a mistake in the 2018 draft — and is it really much of a mistake to get Young? — but they seem to be among the teams that misjudged Doncic’s ceiling. They may come to regret that for the next decade.

Watch Trae Young take over fourth, score 21 of his 36, to secure Hawks win vs. Suns

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ATLANTA — Trae Young scored 21 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter and the Atlanta Hawks pulled away late to beat the Phoenix Suns 123-110 on Tuesday night.

Young had only 15 points before more than doubling his total in the final period for his 20th game with at least 30 points this season.

Young got help from his backcourt partner. Kevin Huerter scored 23 points and set career highs with 15 rebounds and eight assists. John Collins added 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks, who snapped a four-game losing streak.

Devin Booker led the Suns with 39 points before he was ejected for his second technical foul with less than two minutes remaining following his jam.

Deandre Ayton had 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Led by Young, the Hawks pulled away in the final period after briefly losing their lead in the third. Young’s 3-pointer gave Atlanta a 95-92 lead it did not relinquish.

Each team made lineup adjustments.

Suns guard Ricky Rubio did not accompany the team to Atlanta for personal reasons.

The Hawks had few options inside as centers Alex Len (lower back pain) and Bruno Fernando did not play. Atlanta was boosted by Young’s return after missing one game with a sore left hamstring.

Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce said before the game his biggest concern was having Collins and Damian Jones get into foul trouble as the team’s primary available inside players. Collins finished with five fouls. Jones, who had 11 points, had three fouls.

After leading 56-51 at halftime, Atlanta opened the second half with a 12-4 run. Collins sank a 3-pointer for a 68-55 lead. The Hawks stretched the lead to 75-61 on another 3 from Collins.

Phoenix rallied late in the third to take its first lead of the second half, 81-80, on Cameron Johnson‘s three-point play. Collins’ late basket gave Atlanta an 84-83 advantage entering the final period.

The Suns used strong defense to take the lead in the final period. Johnson’s steal set up Mikal Bridges‘ basket for an 87-86 lead. Kelly Oubre‘s block of Huerter’s shot set up a jam by Bridges to stretch the lead to three.

Booker had a strong recovery from a poor shooting effort in Sunday’s win over Charlotte, when he went only 3 of 12 from the field for 12 points.

Nikola Jokic scores career-high 47, Denver picks up road win in Atlanta

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ATLANTA — Nikola Jokic scored a career-high 47 points, Will Barton added a season-best 28 and the Denver Nuggets held off the Atlanta Hawks 123-115 on Monday night.

The Nuggets, coming off a surprising loss at Washington two nights earlier, have won four of six to improve to 25-11, second-best in the Western Conference. Atlanta, worst in the NBA at 8-29, has dropped 11 of 13.

Trae Young finished with 29 points and Kevin Huerter had 22 for the Hawks.

Jokic surpassed his previous career high of 41 points with a putback that gave Denver a 114-109 lead with 3:14 remaining.

Jamal Murray followed with a turnaround jumper in the lane and Barton put back his own miss to put the Nuggets up 118-109 at the 1:57 mark.

That essentially ended all hopes for the Hawks, but it wasn’t entirely easy for Denver.

After John Collins’ dunk cut the lead to 91-88 just 22 seconds into the fourth quarter, Nuggets coach Michael Malone called a timeout. But then Monte Morris followed with a runner and Michael Porter Jr. jammed in a putback to make it 95-88.

The Hawks cut the margin to one before Barton found Morris for an alley-oop and hit a 3-pointer to make it 106-100 with 6:54 remaining. Atlanta pulled within two on Young’s 35-footer with 4:24 remaining, and Malone called another timeout. The move worked as the Hawks made just three field goals the rest of the way.

Huerter’s second straight 3 cut the lead to two at the 6:07 mark of the third, and Malone called a timeout. Jokic quickly followed with a jumper, then stole the ball in the lane from Alex Len to set up Murray’s two free throws.

Jerami Grant’s three-point play made it 36-34 at the 9:37 mark of the second, and the Nuggets didn’t trail again. About three minutes later, Grant rebounded a missed Hawks shot and drove for a layup that gave Denver its first double-digit lead.

Murray’s layup in the final second put the Nuggets up by nine at halftime.

Report: Pistons talking Andre Drummond trade with Hawks, other teams

Andre Drummond and Trae Young
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Pistons owner Tom Gores called keeping Andre Drummond – who said he’d decline his $28,751,774 player option for next season – a priority.

Gores also surely thought Drummond and Blake Griffin would get Detroit into the playoffs this season.

Instead, the Pistons are 12-23. Even in the lowly Eastern Conference, that’s still 3.5 games and three teams behind postseason position. Detroit is closer to 14th place than eighth place.

So, the Pistons are facing hard choices.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Gores’ inclination is to avoid taking a step back. Detroit has a new arena that already draws relatively sparse crowds. The Pistons don’t want to tank and see attendance slip even further.

But they’re trying to win and failing, anyway. Considering trading Drummond is the very least they could do. He could leave them completely empty-handed in unrestricted free agency next summer.

In Atlanta, Drummond would be an awesome pick-and-roll partner with the dynamic Trae Young. Maybe John Collins will eventually become more of a center, but for now, he’d fit fine enough at power forward with Drummond at center.

The Hawks aren’t winning this season, either. They could (and probably should) wait until the summer to sign Drummond if they want him. But losing has caused frustration in Atlanta. The Hawks reportedly told Young they’d get him help. Acquiring Drummond now could aid the development of everyone else.

Atlanta has multiple interesting young players and two extra first-round picks. Chandler Parsonsexpiring contract could prove useful in matching salary. If enough other Hawks are involved, Evan Turner‘s and Allen Crabbe‘s expiring deals could also work. There’s room for these teams to strike a deal.

But will they ultimately agree?

Drummond was the Pistons’ franchise player until they traded for Griffin. Even after, with Griffin repeatedly sidelined due to injury, Drummond has been treated like a star.

I’m not sure the rest of the league holds him in such high esteem. He’s a great rebounder, but he’s extremely limited offensively. His defense is uneven. How many teams trying to win now need a player like that? And how many want to pay Drummond big money next summer? Though he’s just 26, players like him often peak early.

The Pistons discussing trading Drummond is a significant development. I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually move him. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if – no matter how serious they are about exploring a move – there’s a chasm between how they value Drummond and how other teams value Drummond.

Trae Young twists ankle in awkward fall, does not travel with team

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Hopefully, this does not turn out to be serious.

Atlanta’s young star Trae Young had to be helped off the court late in the second quarter Friday night. Young had driven the lane — and was called for an offensive foul — but as he fell to the ground his ankle twisted awkwardly under him.

John Collins and Kevin Huerter helped Young off the court, and he went straight to the locker room not to return.

Hawks officials later said X-rays were negative but that Young would not travel to Chicago with the team, remaining instead in Atlanta to receive treatment. There is no timetable for a return yet.

Young is playing at an All-Star level this season, averaging 29 points and 8.5 assists per game while shooting 36.6 percent from three. On a Hawks team that has been a disappointment because it has not taken a step forward this season, Young has been the bright spot. Hopefully, this injury does not dim his star for long.