Trae Young looked like the best version of himself in Hawks’ season-opening win

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We got our first look at Atlanta Hawks 2.0 on Wednesday night, and damn, if it wasn’t impressive.

Trae Young, the most enigmatic lottery pick in years, was balling like his old Oklahoma self, like the acne-ridden teenager whose preposterous, Steph-Curry-conjuring range captured the nation’s attention as a freshman back in 2017.

The 21-year-old looked like the peak version of himself, raining in threes from just about everywhere– even near-half court, which prompted TNT’s Ernie Johnson to aptly describe him as making it look “Steph-ortless.”

There’s no doubt that the 21-year-old, who (amazingly) grew up watching Curry, has modeled his game after him.

And right now, when he’s on, Young is the closest thing in the game to Steph–making the impossible look sublime. He looks like he could be Curry’s offspring– a younger, less efficient, less consistent version of him.

The Hawks have invested a lot into Trae Young and this nucleus, which has come together through a number of high draft picks and a couple of years of blatant tanking.

In their win over the Pistons on Wednesday night, Young was tossing lobs to John Collins, the wirey, super-athletic Human Highlight Gif (hat tip to Dominique) who’s already one of the most explosive athletes in the game.

He was dishing to rookie DeAndre Hunter, who was impressive in his debut, scoring 14 points and knocking down two of three three-point tries.

He also went for 38 himself, knocking down 6 of 10 threes, 11 of his 21 shots and 10 of his 12 free throws.

A tank-like Jabari Parker (he looks like he hit the gym hard this offseason) had 18 off the bench.

The Hawks are still one of the youngest teams in the league, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they needed another year to put everything together, but then again– it wouldn’t be all that surprising if they made the leap to playoff team this year.

After years of dreary, listless basketball, the Hawks have rebuilt right — and they now have a nucleus loaded with talent that has a shot to be good for years to come.

Even some of their non-lottery picks have the potential to turn into solid NBA players. Second-rounder Bruno Fernando could be a difference maker inside, and Kevin Huerter is one of the best young shooters in the game.

Cam Reddish, the Hawks’ No. 10 pick in last year’s draft, has high expectations (despite scoring just 1 point on 0-for-6 shooting in his debut), and Jabari Parker and Alex Len were both high lottery picks with the potential to break out at some point.

It all comes down to Young, who the Hawks bet on instead of Luka Doncic (which still looks like a mistake). But if one of the game’s most electrifying — if mercurial– talents can harness his inner All-Star more consistently, this team can be a real contender in the future.

It might have looked like a long shot last year, but it turns out Trae Young is pretty good at those.

The Hawks should be pretty excited about their future.

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