Hawks' Trae Young shouts out pair of Eastern Conference Finals standouts

Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young took a moment to recognize the contributions of two players in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

The Atlanta Hawks are trying to get back to the Eastern Conference Finals. 

Three years removed from their last appearance – and extended playoff run – this offseason will go a long way toward determining when they will make their next. 

In the meantime, Hawks star Trae Young has been an avid admirer of the action this postseason has wrought. That includes this year’s Eastern Conference Finals matchup between the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers.

He noted Pascal Siakam’s impact on the Pacers this season while the forward was leading a third-quarter rally.

“This why they got Pascal,” Young posted on X during Game 2 of the series. “Changed their team!”

Siakam finished with 28 points, five rebounds, and two assists. 0-2 deficit aside, Siakam is the Pacers’ leading scorer and rebounder in the series, averaging 26 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game. He is their leading scorer and rebounder for the postseason, boasting a 21.7/7.7/3.7 line.

The Pacers were 24-17 before acquiring Siakam in January.

They went 23-18 the rest of the way with the former NBA champion playing in every game after coming over.

But their net efficiency differential was plus-2.1 without Siakam, per Cleaning The Glass, which includes pre and post-trade lineups. That number was plus-3.9 with the two-time All-Star and All-NBA selection, Siakam.

Their differentials have been plus-8.2 with Siakam and minus-8.1 without this postseason.

The Hawks were linked to a trade for Siakam for months, starting in the offseason and bleeding into the campaign. 

They were unable to agree on a package for a deal with the Toronto Raptors. Indiana sent three players, including former championship Denver Nuggets guard Bruce Brown, and three first-round draft picks to Toronto to get the deal done.

However, they will have to re-sign Siakam in free agency.

His stance of not signing a contract extension was a hurdle prospective teams had to reconcile before the trade. The Pacers were clearly more comfortable doing so than the Hawks.

Celtics’ Jaylen Brown draws praise from Hawks’ Trae Young

The Pacers did lose, and face a daunting task of getting back into the series. And they have Celtics star to thank for that in large part. Brown is the Cs leading scorer this series with 33.0 PPG, 6.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.0 steals per game.

That includes his 40-point effort in Celtics’ 126-110 victory in Game 2.

Brown did most of his damage in the second quarter with 17 points. But his aggression was vital to the Celtics’ attack all night after he hit the game-sealing three in Game 1.

“JB be really getting too [sic] it !!” Young posted.

Brown is the Celtics’ second-leading scorer this postseason, averaging a playoff career-high 24.8 PPG. Whether or not his All-NBA snub is fueling his outburst is unclear with Brown keeping his focus on the task at hand.

Brown, one of the NBA’s most outspoken stars, was one of the first outside of the Hawks to notice an improved style of play when Quin Snyder first arrived in 2022-23.

Those same signs seemed to stagnate and even regress this past season.

Brown said the Hawks played like a true playoff team rather than the Play-In Tournament team they had been during their first-round series in 2022-23. Their task this offseason is to find out just what went wrong.