The Atlanta Hawks host the Dallas Mavericks at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBA League Pass and while it lost it's juice with Luka Doncic listed as out, Trae Young is still worth the watch.
It's unfortunate that we'll miss both head-to-head matchups between Doncic and Young this season, as Luka's injury prevented him from playing in either of the Hawks and Mavericks two meetings.
It's inevitable that Doncic and Young will be attached at the hip throughout their entire careers.
When the Hawks traded the No. 3 overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft (which became Doncic) to move back and get Young, there became this inseperable narrative comparing the two individuals ahead of their rookie season.
When Doncic hit the ground running, exploding onto the scene as a first-year player, the masses heavily questioned Atlanta's decision on draft night. Just a few months into their rookie season, Luka had already been unofficially deemed the undeniable Rookie of the Year but Young didn't let the noise get to him.
Trae put together a fantastic second-half of the season, playing well enough to even take off two first place votes from Doncic's Rookie of the Year ballot.
And while Doncic is still a few steps ahead of Young - putting together an MVP-calibre season as a sophomore - Trae has held his own as one of the league's brightest young stars.
One of the major differences is their team's success, as Luka has the Mavericks poised for a playoff run while Young's Hawks are facing another lottery pick. But their careers are progressing in a similar fashion.
Both players were not only announced as first-time All-Stars in their second season, they were voted in as starters for their respective conferences. They're both walking highlight reels every time they step on the floor - whether it's an already-patented Luka stepback jumper or a 30-foot bomb of a 3-pointer from Trae, they're must-watch talents.
Doncic's 12 triple-doubles are tied with LeBron James for the most in the NBA, while Young's 30.1 points and 9.2 assists per game each rank second in the NBA, placing him in elite company.
We've been robbed of both of the matchups between Doncic and Young due to Luka's lingering ankle injury, but after the Doncic-less Mavericks forced Trae into one of his worst games of the season a few weeks back, you can assume Young is coming back with a vengence.
However, take a look at how Trae and Luka fared against each other in their only two meetings - both coming in their rookie season.
Through their first two meetings as rookies, it's been fairly even as Young has been more efficient and dished out more assists, while Doncic has scored a bit more and grabbed more rebounds.
Both players are riding great momentum heading into this contest, making this even more of a must-watch event.
Young is coming off of his first career 50-point game in the Hawks stunning win over the Miami Heat. He buried eight 3-pointers, pulling up from all over the court, getting his career-high 50 points efficiently on just 25 shots to go with eight assists.
TRAE CAREER-HIGH 50 👏@TheTraeYoung erupts for 50 PTS (8 3PM), 8 AST and the @ATLHawks top Miami at home! #TrueToAtlanta pic.twitter.com/gyA3jigXdq- NBA (@NBA) February 21, 2020
As for Doncic, since returning from injury he's picked up right where he left off as an MVP candidate. He's averaging 33.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists in two victories since returning to action, and just recently put on a show in Orlando against the Magic last night.
💫 Luka Magic in Orlando! 💫@luka7doncic's 33 PTS, 10 REB, 8 AST pushes the @dallasmavs to the road win! #MFFL pic.twitter.com/Jn9vUDsqop- NBA (@NBA) February 22, 2020
It's a shame we won't get to watch these two young stars go head-to-head during their breakout season, but it builds up that much more hype for their first meeting next season.
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