Former Duke star Quin Snyder took over as the coach of the Atlanta Hawks in February and while the Hawks are in the playoffs, they aren’t expected to go too far.
More importantly, Atlanta has an issue that it will probably not resolve this season and it may be a series problem going forward.
And that issue is Trae Young.
In Tuesday’s game against Miami, Young got into a screaming match with assistant coach Jamelle McMillan, son of Snyder’s predecessor and former NC State star Nate McMillan.
That’s not great but things happen. Just in the last few days, Rudy Gobert punched teammate Kyle Anderson and former Blue Devil Mason Plumlee had a sideline altercation with a teammate. Players don’t always get along with each other and not all player/coach relationships are smooth.
Still, Young is a bit of a special case and possibly a challenge for Snyder. Young has embraced a villain role, which is one thing, but he’s not particularly liked by, well, anyone.
He could be much more effective if he shared the ball and moved better, but at least for now, he appears to be happy being a more selfish, less effective version of Steph Curry.
So Snyder has a decision to make: will he work with Young and try to get him to buy in to an offense where he will be less of a focus? Or cut his losses and move him?
That won’t be easy either.
We have no idea what analytics reveal about Young but you can watch him pretty casually and realize that he’s not really a team player. He also has an enormous contract - $215 million over four years - that, along with his reputation, might make him difficult to trade.
Either way - if Snyder can get him to buy in or get decent returns in a trade - Atlanta remans young and talented and the talent includes former Blue Devils AJ Griffin and Jalen Johnson. The Hawks have a chance at real improvement, and soon.
There’s also a chance Young could bring the whole thing down.
The Hawks probably aren’t going far in the playoffs, but that’s okay. The off-season should be much more interesting