Trae Young

Hawks Notes: Jones, Roster, Parker, Minutes

Former first-round pick and newly-acquired Hawks big man Damian Jones is looking to show off his talent in a way he wasn’t able to on a loaded Warriors’ roster, writes Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Jones, who says he is 100 percent recovered from last season’s injury, sees himself being able to provide Atlanta with rim protection, defense and a lob option around the basket.

“I haven’t really gotten a chance to show what I can do,” Jones said Friday at his introductory news conference. “… I still have more to prove.”

There’s more news out of Atlanta this afternoon from Vivlamore:

  • After waiving point guard Jaylen Adams, the Hawks now have a roster of 13 players and will look to sign another veteran to the roster and a second two-way player alongside Charlie Brown, per Vivlamore (link). Because Trae Young is now the lone point guard on the team, one of those signings will almost certainly be a point guard. As for the final standard roster spot, Atlanta plans to leave that vacant for the start of the season.
  • One of those 13 players is former No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker. Parker, who saw his $20MM team option declined by the Wizards earlier this summer before signing with the Hawks on a two-year, $13MM deal earlier this week, says one the reasons he signed with Atlanta is because of the team’s medical staff and Parker’s confidence in them working with his twice surgically repaired left knee (Twitter link from Vivlamore).
  • As we relayed earlier this weekend, Young, big man John Collins , and rookie lottery selections De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish will all see “a lot” of playing time during the 2019/20 season, per general manager Travis Schlenk.

Eastern Notes: Young, Westbrook, Siakam, Hawks

Thaddeus Young gives the Bulls a much-needed glue guy, Sam Smith of the team’s website writes. Not only does Young fill the stat sheet but he also provides other valuable assets, such as contesting shots, staying in front of his man and forcing opponents to pass late in the shot clock, Smith adds. Young signed a three-year contract with Chicago that could be worth up to $43.6MM. Young will embrace a leadership role, as Sean Highkin of NBC Sports Chicago relays. “I know the task is very, very hard,” the former Pacers big man said. “I carry that weight each and every day. I know I can help these young guys get better, I know I can push them over the hump.”

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Adding Russell Westbrook would have made the Pistons better in the short term but it wasn’t worth the long-term risk, Keith Langlois of the team’s website opines. The Pistons couldn’t afford to give up future first-rounders and agree to pick swaps as Houston did to acquire Westbrook from Oklahoma City. With Blake Griffin‘s big contract and Andre Drummond holding an option to become a free agent next summer, the Pistons would not have been able to make any more notable future upgrades if they took on Westbrook’s huge contract, Langlois adds.
  • The Raptors might as well offer Pascal Siakam a max four- or five-year extension this summer, Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca argues. Ben Simmons has reportedly received a similar offer from the Sixers, while Jamal Murray has already signed an extension with the Nuggets. Siakam has outperformed both of his peers in many categories, Grange notes. The Raptors also don’t have any salary-cap restraints in future seasons that would prevent them from maxing out Siakam, Grange adds.
  • Rookie of the Year finalist Trae Young and young big John Collins will see an increase in playing time, Hawks GM Travis Schlenk told Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Lottery picks De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish will also get thrown into the fire for the rebuilding Hawks. “Last year, Trae and John played about 30 minutes. They are probably going to play 35 minutes this year as they continue to grow,” Schlenk said. “De’Andre is obviously going to play a lot of minutes. Cam, we are going to play a lot.”

Southeast Notes: Ross, Thomas, Wizards, Young

Veteran swingman Terrence Ross was one of the first players to come off the board after the free agent period officially opened on the evening of June 30, opting to return to the Magic on a four-year deal that will pay him a reported $54MM. However, remaining in Orlando was hardly Ross’ only option.

As John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com details, Ross said he received either serious interest or a contract offer from the Lakers, Jazz, Mavericks, Pacers, and Kings while he was a free agent. Like teammate Nikola Vucevic though, Ross preferred to stick with the Magic.

“I felt like for us, we both had a lot of other suitors, but our main focus all along was here (with the Magic),” Ross said. “It was one of those things where we were like, ‘Hey bro, wanna go and run it back?’ And we both were like, ‘Yeah.’ It worked out pretty quick because we were on the same page and it worked out perfectly.”

Let’s round up a few more notes from around the Southeast…

  • Speaking to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, new Wizards point guard Isaiah Thomas said his free agency this time around was all about “opportunity,” since he wanted to join a team that would give him a chance to play a regular role. “When the Wizards called and showed interest, with John Wall being out possibly the whole year, that seemed like a big opportunity for me to be able to showcase that I’m 100 percent healthy and that I can still play at the high level that I’m used to playing at,” Thomas said.
  • The Wizards are interviewing candidates in an effort to hire a new assistant to Scott Brooks‘ coaching staff, reports Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. While it’s not clear what kind of coach the team is seeking, Hughes notes that there has been talk within the franchise about finding someone with a “strong defensive track record.”
  • According to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link), Hawks guard Trae Young is expected to be among the players invited to join the USA Basketball Select Team, which will participate in training camp with the Team USA squad in Las Vegas next month prior to the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Luka Doncic Claims Rookie Of Year Honors

Mavericks guard Luka Doncic was named Rookie of the Year at the league’s annual awards show on Monday.

The flashy Euro playmaker held off a late charge by Hawks point man Trae Young. Suns center Deandre Ayton, the top pick in the 2018 draft, was the other finalist for the prize.

Doncic was a triple-double threat on a nightly basis, posting averages of 21.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG and 6.0 APG in 32.2 MPG. Doncic and Young, who averaged 19.1 PPG and 8.1 APG in 30.9 MPG, will forever be linked since they were essentially traded for each other in last year’s draft.

Dallas moved up to the No. 3 pick to select Doncic. Atlanta moved down two slots and chose Young and also got the Mavs’ first-rounder this year, which it used to select Duke forward Cam Reddish.

Doncic was also Hoops Rumors’ unanimous choice for the award.

Southeast Notes: Allen, Hornets Workouts, Beal, Young

Malik Allen was the only member of Tom Thibodeau’s former staff who was retained by the Timberwolves after Ryan Saunders had the interim tag removed earlier this week. However, Allen may be on the move as well. He has emerged as a prime candidate to replace Juwan Howard on Erik Spoelstra’s staff, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Howard left the Heat to take the University of  Michigan head coaching job.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets are bringing in six prospects for a workout on Saturday, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer tweets. That group includes Ar’Mond Davis (UC Santa Barbara), Jon Axel Gudmundsson (Davidson), Nathan Knight (William & Mary), Reggie Perry (Mississippi State), Josh Reaves (Penn State) and Quinndary Weatherspoon (Mississippi State). Weatherspoon, a shooting guard, heads that group as ESPN Jonathan Givony’s No. 57 overall prospect.
  • Bradley Beal didn’t become eligible for a supermax extension as he was left off the All-NBA teams. The Wizards shooting guard could still be on the move this summer, Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington writes. If Washington decides to rebuild, it could trade Beal for assets and salary cap space. In Standig’s view, the Lakers, Celtics and Knicks could be among the most likely destinations, particularly if they strike out in pursuit of high-level free agents.
  • Hawks point guard Trae Young believes his style of play will help bring in quality free agents, as he declared in an interview with 92.9 The Game (hat tip to E. Jay Zarett of the Sporting News). “If you’re looking to have the ball in your hands, if you’re looking to score a lot of points – I mean, a lot of players in the league know if you come play with me, I’m going to make sure I get you the ball,” Young said. “I think that’s something that attracts a lot of big players.”

Hawks Notes: Draft, No. 8, Reddish, Fernando

The Mavericks agreed to send their top-5 protected 2019 first-rounder to the Hawks as part of the Luka Doncic draft night trade last June. Entering the NBA draft lottery, Dallas had hoped to keep this year’s pick and delay conveying the selection.

Assistant GM Keith Grant told Chris Kirschner of the Athletic that the Mavs would have liked to add another young piece to the Doncic-Kristaps Porzingis nucleus. Still, the team views last year’s trade as a win for both parties.

“We actually do believe that,” Grant said about both teams getting the guy they wanted. “We evaluated every player and thought Luka was our guy. Atlanta obviously had Trae as theirs, and so we had a deal.”

The trade between Dallas and Atlanta had been agreed to prior to the actual draft but was contingent on both Doncic and Trae Young being available at No. 3 and No. 5, respectively.

The Hawks are armed with two top-10 draft selections in this year’s draft and Kirschner passes along more from Atlanta:

  • It would be surprising if the Hawks didn’t pick a wing, assuming they stay at the No. 8 spot, Kirschner hears from sources within the organization. Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver has been linked to Atlanta but it’s hard to envision him falling out of the top seven.
  • Zion Williamson and Ja Morant are widely expected to be the top two picks in the draft. One Hawks executive told Kirschner that he expects three other players—R.J. Barrett, Darius Garland, and Coby White—to be unavailable when Atlanta makes its first selection at No. 8. The Suns and Bulls both covet upgrades at the point guard spot and Garland and White are the best available after Morant.
  • The Hawks have interest in Cam Reddish. While he failed to live up to lofty expectations at Duke, there’s “not much doubt” within Atlanta’s organization that playing alongside Young, John Collins, and Kevin Huerter would allow him to reach his potential, Kirschner adds.
  • Coach Lloyd Pierce prefers a center who can stretch the floor but that wouldn’t stop the team from selecting Jaxson Hayes if he’s the best player on the board at No. 10. “Roster building isn’t always about trying to perfectly pair up guys,” a source tells Kirschner.
  • Multiple sources tell Kirschner that the team likes Bruno Fernando out of Maryland. The big man likely isn’t in play with one of the Hawks‘ two top-10 selections, but the franchise holds three second-round picks (No. 35, No. 41, No. 44).

NBA Announces 2018/19 All-Rookie Teams

The NBA has officially announced its All-Rookie teams for the 2018/19 season. Luka Doncic of the Mavericks and Trae Young of the Hawks – widely viewed as the only two legit contenders for this season’s Rookie of the Year award – were also the only two players to be unanimously selected to the First Team, receiving 100 out of 100 possible votes.

Suns center Deandre Ayton nearly joined them as another unanimous First Team pick. However, he was listed on the Second Team on five ballots, with 95 First Team votes. Kings forward Marvin Bagley was the only other player to be named on all 100 ballots, receiving 56 First Team votes.

Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. rounded out the First Team, ensuring that all five players in that group were top-five picks in the 2018 draft.

Listed below are the NBA’s All-Rookie teams for 2018/19, with the player’s vote total in parentheses. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

First Team:

Second Team:

Of the players who missed out on All-Rookie honors, Suns forward Mikal Bridges came the closest, with 31 points, followed by Knicks forward Kevin Knox (22 points). None of the 10 other rookies who earned votes earned more than 12 points, though Josh Okogie (Timberwolves) and Miles Bridges (Hornets) each received one First Team vote.

The full voting results can be found within the NBA’s press release.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Harden, Giannis, George Named MVP Finalists

Defending champion James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Paul George are the finalists for this season’s Most Valuable Player award, the league announced in a press release.

The voting is expected to be close between Harden, who averaged 36.1 PPG and 7.5 APG during the regular season, and Antetokounmpo, who carried the Bucks to the best record in the league while averaging 27.7 PPG, 12.5 RPG and 5.9 APG. George averaged 28.0 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 4.1 APG.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors’ 2019 NBA Award Picks: Most Valuable Player]

The league also released the finalists for its other awards. The winners will be revealed during a TNT broadcast on Monday, June 24. Here are the rest of the finalists:

Rookie of the Year:

Sixth Man of the Year:

Defensive Player of the Year:

Most Improved Player:

Coach of the Year:

  • Mike Budenholzer (Bucks)
  • Michael Malone (Nuggets)
  • Doc Rivers (Clippers)

Draft Notes: Hawks, Culver, Morant, Knicks

The Pelicans and Grizzlies made meteoric rises in tonight’s draft lottery, landing the first and second picks respectively. It’s widely assumed that Zion Williamson and Ja Morant will be the selections, however, much can happen before the draft next month.

Let’s take a look at some notes from teams that didn’t move up in the lottery:

  • The Hawks are fond of Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver, Sean Deveney of Sporting News writes. The franchise believes Culver’s “blend of athleticism and defensive prowess” will allow him to make the leap from the college ranks to the professional level.  Atlanta owns the Nos. 8 and 10 picks in the draft.
  • Had the Hawks landed the No. 2 pick, they likely would have drafted Culver or made a trade, according to Deveney, who suggests Atlanta was never going to draft Morant. Atlanta is fully committed to Trae Young as its point guard of the future and Young’s game next to Morant would be an awkward fit, writes Deveney.
  • The Cavaliers and the Mavericks are other teams that would have explored options outside of Morant had they landed No. 2, Deveney adds. Cleveland drafted Collin Sexton last June while Dallas invested in Luka Doncic.
  • The Knicks would not have traded Williamson if they landed the No. 1 pick, Adrian Wojnarowski said during ESPN’s Draft Lottery coverage. New York will have no such opportunity, as the team ended up with the No. 3 selection.
  • New York didn’t land the No. 1 pick as the franchise had hoped, but the Suns should be more disappointed than the Knicks in their result, Katherine Fitzgerald of the Arizona Republic writes. Phoenix landed the No. 6 overall pick in the draft.

Hawks Rumors: Draft, Free Agency, Carter, Prince

If the Mavericks don’t luck out and nab a top-four draft pick via the lottery, the Hawks will own five of the top 44 selections in next month’s NBA draft. Currently, those picks project to land at Nos. 5, 9, 35, 41, and 44.

Speaking today to reporters, including Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, general manager Travis Schlenk acknowledged that the team is unlikely to bring five rookies to camp in the fall. In other words, the Hawks probably won’t use all five of those draft picks.

As Vivlamore notes, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Hawks will trade one or more picks, though that’s certainly an option — the club could package two or three picks to move up, or could surrender one of its 2019 selections for a future pick or two. Another potential scenario for Atlanta would be going the draft-and-stash route, whereby the team drafts an international prospect who won’t be ready to immediately come stateside.

As we wait to see what the Hawks do with all those draft picks, here’s more from Schlenk:

  • The Hawks may have two top-10 picks in the draft, and they sound prepared to simply draft the best player available with those selections, regardless of positional overlap. “We are still in a development stage,” Schlenk said, per Vivlamore. “We feel good about the development we made this year but I think it’s important not to jump steps. We are still going to take the best players we can. You look at the playoffs now, position-less basketball is what is out there. We are going to keep getting the best talent we can, keep adding them to the mix and we’ll figure out how to blend them on the back end.”
  • Although Schlenk says there’s a “buzz” around the NBA about the Hawks’ young core, he doesn’t expect the team to be overly active in free agency this summer. As Vivlamore relays, Atlanta is more likely to wait to see what sort of players slip through the cracks after the initial wave of signings is over. “Once we show we are in contention, playoff contending, that’s when free agents are going to look at this group and say ‘I want to go there because we can take it to the next level,'” Schlenk said.
  • If and when the Hawks do pursue bigger-name free agents, the opportunity to play alongside Trae Young figures to be a selling point, according to Schlenk, who praised Young’s ability to set up his teammates and get them open shots.
  • Vince Carter said this week that he intends to return for his 22nd NBA season, and Schlenk “certainly wouldn’t have a problem” if Carter ends up re-signing with the Hawks, he said today, praising the veteran’s leadership in the locker room (link via Vivlamore).
  • Taurean Prince, considered one of the Hawks’ core players, will be eligible for a rookie scale extension starting in July. According to Vivlamore, Schlenk spoke to Prince’s agent on Thursday and said he expects to resume those discussions later in the offseason once Prince officially becomes extension-eligible.