Opinion: Led in NBA playoffs by budding star Trae Young, the upstart Atlanta Hawks are here to stay

Trae Young no longer saves the screenshots of comments that questioned whether he would succeed in the NBA, a habit he started when he first turned pro.

Over Young’s three years since his historic college season at Oklahoma, he’s outgrown the idea that he might be a bust or that he was destined to put up big stats on bad teams or, more recently, that he couldn’t win in the playoffs. One by one, the Atlanta Hawks point guard vanquished those narratives to such an extent that it would be hard for them to provide the same wellspring of motivational material that they did when Young was still finding his way in the league.

But in many ways, the doubts about Young as the through line of the Hawks’ rebuilding process has obscured the simple reality of a team that now finds itself in the second round of the NBA playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Hawks are here because in just three short years, they’ve built a really strong roster.

"It’s a good thing we’re getting to play on TV and people are getting to see what this team is about because we’ve got a lot of guys on this team that can play," Young said.

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