The Portland Trail Blazers and Atlanta Hawks have a lot in common. They’re both built around offensively brilliant point guards with defensive shortcomings. They’re both probably, when healthy, about a piece away from serious NBA title contention.
That’s roughly where the similarities end. There’s one glaring difference between these two teams, and it’s the age of those offensively brilliant point guards.
Damian Lillard is 31. Injuries robbed him of much of his 2021-22 season, but it’s fair to wonder whether we’ve seen the best of him already. Meanwhile, Trae Young is 23. We can assume that his best days are yet to come.
The Blazers are at a crossroads. With Lillard aging out of his prime, many would argue that this organization would be best served to blow up its core and start over.
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On the other hand, they’re widely expected to retool this summer and continue pursuing the Larry O’Brien trophy in 2022-23.
The Hawks, by contrast, have the luxury of time. Young has likely not entered his prime yet: there’s no rush in Atlanta. Could these two sides make a deal this summer that benefits them both?