Atlanta Hawks

Why Hawks star Trae Young doesn't mind hearing Steph Curry comparisons

Why Hawks star Trae Young doesn't mind hearing Steph Curry comparisons

If you had a dollar every time someone compared Steph Curry to Trae Young, you'd have a lot of dollars. 

It's an obvious comparison. The Warriors star and the face of the Atlanta Hawks are electric, undersized point guards who can drain shots from just about anywhere on the court. 

Young surely has heard of the similarities countless times, but that doesn't mean he minds the reminder. 

"Who wouldn't want to be compared to MVP and a guy like that," the 21-year-old told reporters Friday ahead of the NBA Rising Stars Challenge. "I don't necessarily get into all that. I don't mind it. I'm glad I'm getting compared to a guy like him than somebody else. It's not a bad thing."

Curry has missed all but four games this season after breaking his left hand a day before Halloween. The two-time MVP will be re-evaluated March 1, and he'll return to the court soon after. 

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard arguably has seized the reigns as the NBA's most ridiculous shot-maker in Curry's absence -- seriously, just look at the Oakland native's game logs since the start of 2020 -- but Young isn't far behind. Young is averaging 29.7 points per game and making 36.9 percent of his 3-point shots. 

[RELATED: Paschall impresses, leads Team USA to Rising Stars win]

He's not quite Curry, of course. The three-time NBA champion has never shot worse than 40 percent from deep in a season in which he played at least 50 games. Curry could retire today as the NBA's fifth-most proficient 3-point shooter (43.5 percent), while Young didn't even cross the 40 percent threshold in his one year at the University of Oklahoma. 

Young's cabinets are missing the hardware that fills Curry's, too. But being mentioned in the same breath at this point in his career? That's more than enough for Young right now. 

Jabari Parker nearing Kings debut after NBA trade deadline whirlwind

Jabari Parker nearing Kings debut after NBA trade deadline whirlwind

The NBA trade deadline always is an interesting time. The buildup is intense, especially for players in the locker room. They get asked uncomfortable questions about their future. They might have to leave their families and friends behind and live in a hotel in a distant city.

Pins and needles turn into a new reality for players around the league as reports hit social media and then are confirmed. It’s a wild, emotional time for almost everyone involved.

For Jabari Parker, whom the Sacramento Kings acquired along with center Alex Len in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks at the deadline last week, this isn’t the first time he has been traded at the deadline. In fact, it’s the second year in a row that he ha had to make an adjustment on the fly and join a new team for the final 30-plus games of the season.

It’s part of the business of the NBA and it usually gives players a unique perspective on what to expect, especially once they’ve been through the process once or twice.

“I knew what I signed up for when I chose this, it’s just a matter of building,” Parker said. “Life throws everything at you. Life is not real steady, everybody has challenges. And that kind of perspective kind of takes me far and gets me prepared for moments like this.”

Parker has struggled with injuries throughout his six seasons in the league. He’s currently dealing with a shoulder impingement that required a procedure in December, and he also tore the ACL in his left knee twice in his first three seasons in the league.

The 24-year-old forward has played in just one game since Christmas and he has missed the last 19 games, but he’s getting very close to a return. He would like to play on Monday against the Milwaukee Bucks, the team that drafted him No. 2 overall in 2014, although the Kings might have something to say about that.

“If it’s up to me, I’d play today,” Parker said on Saturday. “But it’s not up to me. I’m just trying to take the safest way.”

He’s stepping into an interesting situation. The Kings have struggled all season long, but they currently are on a hot streak and they are attempting to claw their way back into the postseason race.

“I feel good, I’m just trying to get as [much] practice as possible before I try to get in some games,” Parker said about his injured shoulder. “Preparation is key, especially where our team is right now. You see we’ve been winning and I don’t want to try to slow us up.”

While injuries have defined his early career, Parker can bring something different to the Kings’ roster. He is a combo forward that can really fill up the basket. He averaged 15 points and six rebounds per game for the Hawks, while shooting 50.4 percent from the floor.

He isn’t a great perimeter shooter, but there is plenty to like about his game and he’s still young enough to improve.

“Mindset-wise, I always try to count my blessings because right now, I’m healthy, I’ve got a clear space, I have good people around me -- those three things I can take and the sky's the limit,” Parker said. “Really, just having that kind of mindset, is key for me.”

The Kings have been after Parker for a while. They chased him during free agency in 2018 before he signed with the Chicago Bulls. He’s on the books for $6.5 million this season and has a player option for the same amount next year.

[RELATED: Divac admits Dedmon wasn't player Kings expected to see]

If he sticks around, the Kings have another young scoring option to work with. If he opts out, Sacramento will have found a way to completely get out from underneath Dewayne Dedmon’s contract, whom the Kings dealt to land Parker.

NBA trade grades: How Kings did in Jabari Parker-Dewayne Dedmon deal

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USATI

NBA trade grades: How Kings did in Jabari Parker-Dewayne Dedmon deal

The NBA trade deadline has come and gone and the Sacramento Kings shook things up, at least a little bit.

Dewayne Dedmon got his wish and is no longer in Sacramento. General manager Vlade Divac cleared the books of at least half of his salary for next season, with the potential for even more.

Here's a full breakdown of the deal:

What the Kings received: Jabari Parker, Alex Len

Parker is a raw scorer with a history of knee injuries and a questionable jumper. At 24, he still has time to improve, but he’s moving on to his fifth team in three years and he’s missed 20 of the Hawks previous 21 games with a right shoulder impingement. The Kings’ medical staff will know more about his potential return to the court after they get their hands on him over the next day.

There is a chance that Parker has an epiphany moment and becomes a major scoring option off the bench for Sacramento. He can play a few minutes at the three, but he’s more of a four/five at this point in his career. At 15 points and six rebounds in 26.2 minutes per game, Parker is a viable rotational player when healthy.

Last season, Len’s numbers looked very similar to what Dedmon posted. He’s having a down year, but he’s a big that can stretch the floor, rebounds a little bit and even block an occasional shot. Like Parker, he’s struggled to live up to his top 5 draft position and he’s currently nursing a hip issue, but he’s still a capable NBA player and his contract is expiring at the end of the season.

This could have been a lot worse for Sacramento. For the low low cost of two late second-round selections, they got out from underneath the $13.3 million owed to Dedmon next season and the $1 million buyout the season after that.

Dedmon didn’t want to be in Sacramento. More importantly, he played like he didn’t want to be in Sacramento. In moving him to Atlanta, the Kings acknowledged a mistake was made in free agency, but also that the team was willing to move away from the decision quickly.

Both Parker and Len can help the Kings this season. Parker has a player option for next season at $6.5 million, which if he exercises, would give the Kings a nice bench scorer at a budget price. If he opts out, Sacramento clears even more cash off the books.

This was the second move the Kings made in the last few weeks to trade away a big money 2019 free-agent acquisition. If anything, the team has to do a better job in their vetting process. Overpaying players is understandable, but overpaying the wrong ones, even if the team finds a way out of the deal, is not good business practice.

Kings Grade: B

What the Hawks Received: Dewayne Dedmon, 2020 Rockets second-round pick, 2021 Heat second-round pick

Dedmon spent two seasons with the Hawks before inking a three-year, $40 million deal with the Kings last summer. Whatever happened between the moment he stepped off the floor in Atlanta and when he stepped on the court in Sacramento is a complete mystery. Dedmon became a turnover machine that couldn’t shoot and lost his starting job in a matter of four games.

After demanding a trade in December, Dedmon found his way back into the rotation in Sacramento due to a series of injuries. He had a few moments where he played well, but overall, it wasn’t living up to the contract he signed during the off-season.

Dedmon never really had a chance to play alongside Marvin Bagley, which is the reason the Kings signed him in the first place. He also posted 5.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and shot 19.7 percent from 3-point range in 34 games for Sacramento. For a player that signed for big money, he sat out 15 games as a healthy scratch and three of those contests he was inactive altogether.

The Hawks know his game well and were willing to take on the $13.3 million owed next season. Maybe they have the key to invigorating the veteran center.

[RELATED: Kings won't trade Bogi, will try to re-sign him]

In addition, the Kings came into the day with seven second-round picks. The Hawks picked up two of those in the transaction, but as of now, they are the least valuable of the lot. Sacramento was able to retain its own second-rounders in each of the next two drafts, as well as the Pistons and Heat’s 2020 pick and Memphis’ 2021 selection.

Not only did Atlanta give up the best player in the deal, but they also took back a tremendous amount of salary and two late second-round picks.

Hawks Grade: D-