This trade will reverberate around NBA for years to come. It was a high-profile move in the 2018 draft between two teams both looking to find a centerpiece of a future contender. The Dallas Mavericks and Atlanta Hawks landed their respective star with Luka Doncic and Trae Young, although it was the Hawks who had originally selected the Slovenian star. The Mavericks threw in a future protected first-round pick to make the swap and the Hawks agreed.
Atlanta GM Travis Schlenk said his group rated Doncic and Young as about the same, meaning the additional first-round pick was enough to swing a deal for a team in a rebuild. Many around the NBA have criticized the Hawks for this evaluation, although Young has emerged as a star in his own right. Doncic, meanwhile, looks like a perennial MVP candidate with the Mavericks and has been a big contributor from Day 1.
The two players have met four times in their young career. Young has played all six games possible against the Mavericks but Doncic missed both contests in 2019-20. Of the four games both players played, the Mavericks hold a 3-1 advantage in the win-loss column. Young’s Hawks won the first matchup, but Doncic’s Mavs have taken the other three. In the two meetings Doncic didn’t take part in, the teams split 1-1. Here’s how the players stack up on the stat sheet against each other.
Luka Doncic vs. Trae Young head-to-head matchups (4 games)
Doncic: 25.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 41.4 FG%, 25.9 3P%
Young: 21.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 9.8 assists, 42.3 FG%, 35.7 3P%
Young tends to be more efficient in the head-to-head matchups but Doncic scores more points and grabs more rebounds. This makes sense, as Young was considered the better shooter coming into the league. Both were considered strong passers, and Young’s totals have improved as his teammates around him improved. Doncic might be the better player to build around, but it’s hard to argue he’d fit better than Young on Atlanta’s current roster.
The proof of that may be in the team’s overall success. Doncic’s Mavericks are 118-111 over the last three seasons with two playoff appearances, both ending in first-round losses. Young’s Hawks are 90-131 over the same span but have two playoff series wins in their lone appearance, which was last season. That run to the Eastern conference finals has raised expectations for Atlanta this season.
Doncic enters this season as the favorite to win MVP at +380 according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Young is +2000 to win the honor. Dallas’ win total is 48.5 while Atlanta’s is 46.5. These two guards have their teams in contention this season, and it’s safe to say neither organization will be complaining about the trade on draft day in 2018. Doncic and Young meet for the fifth time in their young career having fulfilled lofty expectations. They first faced off as promising rookies. Now, they’ll meet as All-Stars with MVP potential on contending teams.
The Hawks are favored to win by 2.5 points, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Atlanta is a -140 favorite on the moneyline, while Dallas is +120. The over/under is set at 224.5.