ATLANTA–The Atlanta Hawks apparently loved Luka Doncic ... but not as much as what came behind Door No. 2.
During Thursday's NBA draft, the Hawks technically selected the Slovenian-born Doncic (No. 3 overall), but then traded his rights to the Mavericks for a package that included the No. 5 pick ... and Dallas' first-rounder for 2019 (top-five protected).
From there, Atlanta happily snagged Trae Young–the only player in Division I history to lead the NCAA in points and assists (same season)–with the fifth selection, a move which makes perfect sense on four fronts:
a) The rebuilding Hawks are wisely stockpiling (presumptive) high picks for the coming seasons. It's the prudent path for long-term roster construction.
b) Trae Young may be this draft's most electric singular talent, with the capacity for scoring 30-plus points, burying six-plus triples or racking up 15-plus assists every night.
Young's most recognized comp among NBA veterans: Two-time MVP Stephen Curry.
c) Before coming to Atlanta, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk helped build the Warriors into their current dynastic form; and he presumably believes Young can be a transcendent performer.
d) With Philips Arena undergoing a massive renovation, the Hawks will need a signature asset to sell tickets.