There was size in this year’s NBA Draft. There was depth. There were shooters. There were quality point guards.
But more than that, this draft was marked by players who carry superstar ability. And, in the end, it was what happened to three of those potential superstars — and the risks their new organizations took to get them — that ruled an unpredictable night here at the Barclays Center.
No one put more on the line on this night than Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk, who gave up on Doncic — considered by some to be the best player in the draft — to land Young, who was a knockdown scorer at Oklahoma, where he averaged 27.4 points and 8.7 assists.
Schlenk has some history to go on here. He took over in Atlanta last year after having been with the Warriors going back to 2004, and was in the Golden State war room in 2009 when the team took a player deemed too skinny to withstand the rigors of the NBA. That player was Stephen Curry, who has gone on to a near-certain Hall of Fame career.
The knocks on Young are eerily similar to those on Curry, and others, for that matter. It’s a lot to ask Young to live up to Curry’s career path, but the Hawks are in need of a franchise cornerstone, a guy who can reliably put up 20-plus points per night. Young figures to be that guy.
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San Antonio will also bring in Marco Belinelli, who agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal with the team, a league source told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Belinelli returns to San Antonio after playing a couple seasons for the Spurs between 2013 and 2015. He played a combined 80 games for Atlanta and Philadelphia last season, averaging a career-high 21.1 points per game.
With Belinelli and Gay, the Spurs project to have $107 million in committed salary, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The Belinelli contract will hard cap the Spurs at $129 million, based on the guard’s using more than the $5.3 million midlevel exception.