Hawks’ Griffin: ‘I’m just ready to get to work and play with a guy, Trae(Young)’

The Atlanta Hawks selected AJ Griffin from Duke with the 16th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday night. 

Griffin, 18, appeared in 39 games (25 starts) during his freshman season at Duke, averaging 10.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 24.0 minutes per game. 

The 6-6 Griffin is excited to play in Atlanta with Trae Young.

“I’m just ready to get to work and play with a guy, Trae(Young), I looked up to, just watching him play throughout the years,” Griffin said Thursday night. “It’s a surreal feeling.”

Griffin’s father, Adrian Griffin, played in the NBA for 10 seasons and is currently an assistant coach with the Toronto Raptors. According to Griffin, he got a lot of advice from his father, who he’s looking to go against very soon.

“Man, he gave me so much advice,” Griffin said. “Just to be here today and just to share this moment with him, he just always told me the truth, always gave me the best advice a father could. I’m just truly grateful and blessed to be able to have a father like him. I’m just excited to see — trying to get that first win against him. Yeah, it’s definitely a blessing to have him as a father.”

Hawks assistant GM Landry Fields likes Griffin’s character and skill set. 

“First of all, he’s a tremendous character guy,” Fields said. “He’s got a great body. He has the ability to put the ball on the floor, which might be a little underrated. Hopefully, he can get out there on the defensive end and impose his will with the stature that he has. That’s something that we really want to add to our mix here. He’s going to put his best foot forward. He’s going to add a great culture piece to our locker room, and on top of that, he’s got game.”

Also, Atlanta acquired the draft rights to the 51st pick, Tyrese Martin from UConn, and cash considerations from Golden State in exchange for the draft rights to Ryan Rollins, the 44th pick.

The 21-year-old Martin(6-6) saw action in 29 games (all starts) for UConn during the 2021-22 campaign, tallying 13.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 32.1 minutes (.449 FG%, .430 3FG%, .689 FT%).