Atlanta Hawks Offseason Grades: Drafting Trae Young #5 Overall

As part of our offseason coverage, Soaring Down South is ranking each and every offseason transaction the Atlanta Hawks made.

After a slow start, the Atlanta Hawks kicked it into high gear and had one of the most action-packed and interesting offseasons in recent memory. Multiple trades and signings took place even after the NBA Draft, which was even more important for the Hawks in the long-term.

In our ongoing series of offseason reviews, it’s time to grade each move the Hawks made this offseason from draft picks to trades to free agency deals.

Today, let’s start the grades with the Atlanta Hawks decision to draft point guard Trae Young with the #5 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

While we were originally less-than-enthused about this move, this newly updated grade is based on the selection of Trae only – rather than the decision to trade the rights to another talented prospect.

Atlanta Hawks Rookie Trae Young

TARRYTOWN, NY – AUGUST 12: Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)


Trae Young is nothing if not an extremely interesting choice to be drafted by the Hawks with the #5 overall pick.

With that move, the Hawks set themselves on a path to have an extremely high-upside offensive ceiling with very little in the way of defensive accolades going forward in their rebuild.

Of course, while defense may win championships, offense is what gets people into the arena as well as produces the most highlights in today’s NBA. On that front, the selection of Young was a slam dunk.

A polarizing prospect, everyone has an opinion on Trae – whether it be glowingly positive or growlingly negative. Just look at ESPN, who relied on Trae’s scoring eruptions to drive their early coverage of NCAA basketball, but then turned around and gave him a total of zero first place votes in a recent rookie of the year forecast (a remarkable turnaround).

Young is definitely raw on defense and lacks the athletic profile of someone who could turn into a plus on the defensive end.

His offensive skills, however, were unmatched in his draft class, and his passing ability, which was on full display in Summer League, is the real deal:

Only time will tell to see if Trae Young reaches his full potential. From the outset, he has been nothing but a bright light in the offseason – Tweeting constantly about what his future might hold in the league as a member of the Atlanta Hawks, including putting the NBA on notice with a “Dear NBA” video.

The Atlanta Hawks have not had a player of Young’s caliber join the team in many years, and the fact that he is still only 19 and seems supremely excited to play for the Hawks makes the selection of Trae Young in the draft a stupendous decision by Atlanta Hawks General Manager Travis Schlenk.

Stay tuned for the next story in our offseason grades series, and always keep it locked to Soaring Down South for all your Atlanta Hawks news.