Hawks’ Trae Young sets expectations for Dejounte Murray partnership

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

This past season, the Atlanta Hawks were 41-41 despite making a blockbuster trade to acquire Dejounte Murray in the offseason.

Naturally in this microwave society, that led to many questioning the longevity of the Murray-Trae Young combination with the Hawks suffering their second consecutive first-round playoff exit despite the former’s addition.

Even after Murray re-signed this offseason, those questions popped up. But anyone on that side of the debate may want to re-think their position after Young opened up about his on-court partnership with Murray during a recent appearance on “Gil’s Arena” with former NBA All-Star guard Gilbert Arenas.

His expectations are quite lofty.

“I think we can be we can be special,” Young said in the episode released on August 4. “For me, I don’t like necessarily talking about it. I like going out and doing it. So like it’s different for me talking about it. But I know we can be special.”

That they went 35-32 with both Murray and Young healthy gets overlooked. Atlanta also had a plus-1.6 net rating (62nd percentile) with the duo on the floor, per Cleaning The Glass.

Murray and Young also made a bit of history, becoming the first pair of teammates to average at least 20 points and 6.0 assists in a single season since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen of the 90s Chicago Bulls. The team results still lacked, though both players seemingly came away encouraged by their future.

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“You got to have guys on the court that can think,” Young said. “So when sometimes you’re getting trapped you throw to somebody who doesn’t know what to do when he catches it…it’s harder. But having a guy like DJ, I can throw it to him and I know he’s in attack mode. He can catch it and go with somebody holds, he can hit the shooter – he can hit [Bogdan Bogdanovic] in the corner.”

That is exactly why the Hawks went after Murray and handed him a four-year, $120 million contract extension.

“Whenever you have guys like that, it’s a lot easier, for sure,” Young said.

Trae Young: Changes to Hawks’ offense ‘may surprise some people’

“I think the thing about us is, having Quin [Snyder], he’s such a smart coach when it comes to offense, it’s not gonna be the same,” Young said. “There’s a lot of new things that we’re going to be adding to our team, and it may surprise some people.”

Snyder took over for Joe Prunty – who was serving as interim head coach following the firing of Nate McMillan – as head coach two games after the Hawks returned from the All-Star break and almost immediately players began to rave about the changes he was implementing on the court and with the players.

“It’s more than just basketball. You can talk to him about other things, and you have a connection with him. And with a coach like that, it helps you go a long way.”

“Especially being a point guard and having to control a lot of things in different scenarios that may be tough for you,” Young continued.

“When you have a coach that puts guys in their positions, and he tells them what they need to do, and makes sure everybody is accountable, you can’t mess up because he’s already told you. It’s not just coming from me. It’s coming from the coach too. That s*** goes a long way and it helps and that’s what Quin brings and I know he’s going to help our team a long way for sure.”

The Hawks went 10-11 during the regular season with Snyder.

They bowed out in the first round of the playoffs to the Boston Celtics after six games. But they had won three straight contests before falling to the Philadelphia 76ers and then resting their starters against the Boston Celtics in the regular season finale.

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With a full offseason to install his schemes and grow even more familiar with his players, Snyder’s influence should be apparent right out of the gate.