It’s become routine for professional athletes to complain about their video game ratings. Whether it’s NFL players feeling slighted by Madden or NBA players feeling slighted by the 2K series, every year someone gets a bit hot under the collar.
Here in 2018, that distinction goes to Atlanta Hawks rookie Trae Young, who subtly expressed his displeasure in an NBA 2K19 rating of 77 — a rating that is very much in the wheelhouse for most rookies.
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) August 8, 2018
While Young did dominate in his one and only college season, averaging 27.4 points and 8.7 assists per game for Oklahoma, he has been repeatedly questioned about his size (6-foot-2) and what it will mean for him against NBA competition.
During Summer League play, Young showed flashes of brilliance, but he also struggled at times and couldn’t find the bottom of the net. Along with his aforementioned size, that’s likely why Young was given a sub-80 rating by those at Visual Concepts and 2K Sports.
Of course, if Young goes out and lights the basketball world on fire, it won’t be long before his rating rapidly increases.
Plenty of players can drain shots from the NBA 3-point line, so it usually takes more than that to impress a team in a pre-draft workout. But if you prove that you can make baskets from the 4-point line, that has to command attention.
The Atlanta Hawks introduced their rookie class on Monday, and head coach Lloyd Pierce revealed that No. 5 overall pick Trae Young was sinking shots from well beyond the arc during his pre-draft workout with the team. The Hawks have a “4-point line” on their practice court that Lloyd says exists to work on spacing, but Young used it to showcase his range.
Lloyd Pierce said that the 'four-point line' on the Hawks practice court is for spacing, but that Trae Young was shooting from there in his pre-draft workout. pic.twitter.com/DZh8R6HsEC
— Kevin Chouinard (@KLChouinard) June 25, 2018
"When you have it, and teams are going to give you that much separation, and you have the ability to do it — and we've seen a lot of guys in the NBA do that — he **has** that."
— Kevin Chouinard (@KLChouinard) June 25, 2018
The Hawks were said to be high on Young leading up to the draft, and they like him so much they were willing to pass up Luka Doncic and instead trade back for the former Oklahoma star. Young’s shooting range is clearly one of the reasons Atlanta believes he can be a franchise player, and it’s also why he has drawn comparisons to a certain NBA MVP.
The parade of reporters prematurely leaking picks to their Twitter followers made for an especially entertaining sideshow during this year’s NBA draft. But remarkably enough, one team was actually able to benefit from all the hoopla.
In an appearance Friday on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, Atlanta Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk revealed that the Hawks were about to trade up for a Milwaukee Bucks’ pick to ensure that they got at least one of their two preferred prospects. However, when news leaked that the Bucks would not be taking either player with their pick, Atlanta was able to pull out of the deal.
“Last night, for instance, we had the 19th pick, and we’re coming down and we’re actually talking to Milwaukee on the 17th pick, talking about trading up to get a guy we like,” said Schlenk. “There’s were a couple of guys we felt really good about on the 19th pick, obviously [Maryland guard] Kevin [Huerter] was one of them, and it leaked who Milwaukee was going to take.
“So, all of a sudden, we were able to pull back out of that deal and keep the draft pick instead of packaging picks to move up because we knew that, two guys on the board we felt really good about and only one team in between us,” Schlenk added. “So that was beneficial to us last night.”
The Bucks wound up taking Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo at No. 17 in a pick that was indeed revealed to Twitter by Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports minutes before it was formally announced on the podium by commissioner Adam Silver. The San Antonio Spurs then drafted Miami guard Lonnie Walker IV at No. 18, clearing the way for the Hawks to take Huerter at No. 19.
We definitely enjoyed some good laughs as a result of the picks getting leaked early during Thursday’s draft. It is quite interesting though that the leaks had a very real impact on the leverage of some of the involved parties as well.
The Atlanta Hawks hold the No. 3 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, but they reportedly have interest in moving down.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Mannix, the Hawks are eyeing Trae Young if they do move down in the draft.
Atlanta has explored moving back in the draft, with an eye on OU’s Trae Young, league sources told @YahooSports. Hawks have fielded numerous calls for the No. 3 pick.
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixYS) June 21, 2018
Deandre Ayton, Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley III are the players most commonly mentioned in connection with the top three picks. One report from ESPN said that the Hawks were targeting Doncic at No. 3.
Perhaps the Hawks are trying to drum up trade interest with this story. There are teams sitting behind them who are said to have interest in Doncic, so maybe they want them to bring their best offers to the table.
Young is expected to be among the lottery picks, but there has not been talk of the former Oklahoma star going anywhere in the top five.
The Hawks have hired Lloyd Pierce as their new head coach and will make the announcement on Monday. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski says Pierce is getting a three-year deal with a team option for a fourth year.
Pierce, 42, is an assistant with the Philadelphia 76ers and has been with them since 2013. He has been with the team throughout “The Process,” which makes him a good fit for the rebuilding Hawks.
“The main reason is just looking at their young players,” Pierce told the Philly Inquirer this week about what makes him a good fit. “They got four guys in the draft. They got a couple of young players that are on their roster. So what’s most important when you are dealing with young players and young talent, it’s the development and relational side of that. …
“It’s kind of my track record. It’s anybody’s track record of how do you communicate, how do you work with players, how do you develop, what does that mean?”
Atlanta has a good chance to land a very high pick in the upcoming draft, which should help with their rebuild.
The Atlanta Hawks have not been mentioned in connection with many head coaching candidates since the regular season ended, and that could be because they have already narrowed their list down to one name.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Philadelphia 76ers assistant coach Lloyd Pierce has emerged as the frontrunner to land the Hawks job.
Story filed to ESPN: Philadelphia 76ers assistant Lloyd Pierce has emerged as the primary focus of the Atlanta Hawks head coaching search. Pierce traveled to Atlanta today and met with team officials for a third time in the process.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 11, 2018
Pierce, of course, was still coaching with the 76ers as of Wednesday night, but the team has since been eliminated from the postseason by the Boston Celtics.
Pierce has been an assistant coach in the NBA since 2007, having worked with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies prior to joining the Sixers. The Hawks are looking for a new head coach to lead their stripped-down roster after they fired Mike Budenholzer following the season. With some of the top names already being signed, it makes sense that Atlanta could have to hire a first-time head coach.
The Atlanta Hawks continue to get disrespected both on and off the court.
Philadelphia 76ers star rookie Ben Simmons was livestreaming himself playing multiplayer online game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (more popularly known as PUBG) on live video platform Twitch on Tuesday. During Simmons’ livestream, Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns, an avid gamer and popular Twitch user himself, hopped on with him.
As Towns arrived, Simmons tried to get them to run a game of PUBG together and told him, “We got time. Who do you play tomorrow?” When Towns said that the Wolves were playing the Hawks, an amused Simmons replied, “Yeah, you’ve got plenty of time.” Twitch user YURRZZ captured the funny clip.
The Hawks are indeed the worst team in the East this season at 21-53, so you can see where Simmons is coming from. But the Wolves, who are fighting for a playoff spot, cannot afford to take anything for granted, as opposed to the Sixers, who have already clinched. After all, Minnesota just had a humiliating loss to a similarly lousy team on Monday, so hopefully Towns didn’t stay up too late playing (despite the scheduled 7 PM tipoff against Atlanta).
H/T NBA Reddit