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Did the Atlanta Hawks just get good overnight?
That’s the question a lot of teams in the Eastern Conference and specifically the Southeast Division, like the Washington Wizards, are asking themselves. The Hawks entered the 2018 NBA Draft a lottery team desperate for a do over and left with one of the promising situations in the league with a pair of shooters that scouts will argue has the potential to be the Splash Brothers lite. The Hawks traded back two spots from No. 3 to No. 5 in the first-round to land Oklahoma point guard Trae Young and then drafted shooting guard Kevin Huerter formerly of Maryland with the No. 19 pick overall.
The NBA is upon the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty after the team won its third NBA championship in four years. At the heart of the team is a star-studded roster that is highlighted by the combination of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the original Splash Brothers. Teams have in very different ways tried to copy the Warriors but often fell short in their assessments — until now. Atlanta feels it has a sharpshooting duo for the ages and they are ready to unleash the pair on the rest of the league for years to come.
Ironically, Young drew comparisons to Curry during his one-and-done season in Norman. His shooting range expands way beyond the three-point line where he shot 39.6 percent from. He averaged 27.4 points per game and his handles and ability to break down defenders and create spacing mimics Curry with his heart-sinking pull-up threes. Young also can pass the ball, registering 8.7 assists.
Meanwhile in College Park, Md., Huerter — a 6-foot-7 shooting guard — displayed offensive skills that mimic Thompson. Huerter shot an eye-popping 41.7 percent from three. He attempted 5.5 treys per game which makes his three-point shooting percentage even more impressive. He is a terrific catch-and shoot shooter and comes off screens very Thompson-like. He also has shown the ability to be a good in the pick-and-roll with his good passing skills. With Young handling the ball and Huerter working off screens, the rookie pair can create a similar magic as the original Splash Brothers do in the Bay Area.
Both Huerter and Young have a long way to go, but the potential of re-creating the same magic for the ATL as Curry and Thompson did for Bay is worth noting. Huerter must improve his frame and handles, as well as be able to play physical on both ends of the floor against NBA’s two-guards. Yet again, the potential is there. Atlanta loved his offensive game that included him shooting 50.3 percent from the field on 11.7 shots per game. His efficient shooting includes a very big man-like 60.5 percent on two-point shots. He also shot 40.9% on all jumpers and 42.6% off the bounce.
Trae Young and Kevin Huerter: Splash Bros 2.0
My Twitter mentions should be 🔥 in 3… 2…#NBADraft
— Wendy Adams (@wendyradio) June 22, 2018
Huerter thought long and hard about returning to school. In fact, his declaring for the draft was more so to feel out what scouts said about his game for him to improve and get ready for the 2019 draft. But, he dazzled scouts and executives with his versatility and a first-round grade eventually helped him make the decision to stay in this year’s draft. He is being rewarded by being put in one of the best fit and situation for him on the pro level.
Young will garner much of the attention in Atlanta. He is the team’s new franchise player and deserving so, however, people in the Peach State will also have their fair share of awe moments with Huerter and his shooting. The efficiency of the two together along with whatever supporting cast makes Atlanta an attractive team again. While Wizards and Miami Heat as the upper-tier teams in the Southeast Division are seemingly standing pat, the Hawks are recycling behind general manager Travis Schlenk with two guards that have the potential of being the next strong backcourt of the NBA.