Atlanta Hawks

Were the Atlanta Hawks winners or losers in the 2018 NBA Draft? Experts weigh in.

Luka Doncic poses for a picture with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after Doncic was picked third overall by the Atlanta Hawks during the NBA draft on Thursday. Doncic was traded to the Dallas Mavericks for point guard Trae Young later that night.
Luka Doncic poses for a picture with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after Doncic was picked third overall by the Atlanta Hawks during the NBA draft on Thursday. Doncic was traded to the Dallas Mavericks for point guard Trae Young later that night. AP Photo

The close of the 2018 NBA Draft Thursday night made for the perfect time for media outlets to name its winners and losers from the scene in Brooklyn. Here’s how the Atlanta Hawks graded out after what was a wild night for the franchise.

Sports Illustrated

SI’s Ben Golliver called Hawks fans “Winners” from the draft after the team added three players to the roster.

In Golliver’s eyes, “[Hawks general manager Travis] Schlenk might not be able to replicate the Splash Brothers, but he landed two of this year’s top shooting prospects in [Trae] Young and [Kevin] Huerter. Although size and defensive ability are major questions that will dog Young until he establishes himself as an NBA player, he’s an exciting, fearless playmaker with a magnetic and crowd-pleasing style.

“Hawks fans are winners both now and later: They can enjoy adopting Young as the new face of their franchise comfortable in the knowledge that more help is on the way.”

CBS Sports

CBS Sports’ Kyle Boone declared the Hawks a winner after their acquisitions Thursday and said Atlanta and Dallas were winners in the trade involving Luka Doncic.

“Instead of sticking with Luka Doncic at 3, the Hawks flipped him for Trae Young — the player they had their eyes on all along,” Boone wrote. “Young had a phenomenal workout with the team recently, according to CBS Sports' Matt Norlander. And as a sweetener to the deal, Atlanta also picked up a 2019 first-round pick from the Mavericks that will convey to them next June as long as it falls outside the top five, according to the New York Times' Marc Stein.”

Yahoo Sports

Rotoworld’s Steve Alexander dished out grades on Yahoo and gave the Hawks a B+ for their work in the draft. Although Alexander lamented how he hoped to see Doncic play for the nearby Hawks, he noted the team added two more shooters, including Kevin Huerter who he called “the best shooter in this draft.”

“I can’t help but think the Doncic trade may haunt us Hawks fans for years to come,” Alexander wrote. “But they didn’t make any bad picks, and had a good night on the whole. But this was as ‘Hawksy’ a draft as any I can remember. I just hope Young lives up to the hype.”

Bleacher Report

Bleacher Report’s Paul Kasabian gave the Hawks a B but did not elaborate on his grades for the various NBA teams. He did, however, name Trae Young as one of the top six prospects in this draft.

“If [Hawks guard Dennis] Schroder ends up going elsewhere soon, then this is clearly Young's team going forward, with the Hawks choosing to build around him as the centerpiece,” Kasabian wrote.

The Ringer

The Ringer’s Jonathan Tjarks gave the Hawks Bs across the board for their trade with the Mavericks and their selections of Young, Huerter and Spellman. Tjarks’ most interesting perspective on the Hawks’ night came in his take on Huerter, as he explained how Schlenk is trying to build what he had as an assistant general manager with Golden State.

“Travis Schlenk is officially building a bootleg version of the Warriors. It’s not just a narrative,” Tjarks wrote. “Trae Young is a poor man’s Steph Curry and Huerter is a poor man’s Klay Thompson. Huerter was a fast riser during the predraft process, and he may end up being much better in the NBA than in college …”

USA Today

USA Today’s Michael Singer gave the Hawks’ selections of Young and Huerter B+'s but was more critical about drafting Spellman.

Singer handed down a C- for the Hawks’ selection of the former Villanova big man but wrote, “Few power forwards can stretch the floor like Spellman, who was extremely productive as a freshman from range. He'll offer matchup issues as a reserve for the Hawks.”


More than one ESPN writer was critical of the Hawks’ decision to take Doncic only to ship him to Dallas.

ESPN’s Kevin Pelton gave Dallas an A but handed Atlanta a D for the deal. As Pelton explained, “Doncic isn't a typical No. 3 pick, so Atlanta had to aim higher than just winning the trade by a value chart that is incapable of considering such distinctions [or accounting for a 2019 draft that appears relatively weak at this point]. I would have preferred simply taking Doncic to making this deal.”

ESPN’s Mike Schmidtz also deemed the Doncic trade by the Hawks as the riskiest draft move with the most bust potential.

“Passing on a chance at Doncic for Trae Young could prove costly for Atlanta, pending the Oklahoma guard's development,” Schmidtz wrote. “While he's extremely skilled, Young will be leaned on heavily to operate in another high-volume role in Atlanta, leaving him little room to address some of his glaring weaknesses [defense, finishing in traffic].”

Jordan D. Hill: @JordanDavisHill |