The Atlanta Hawks acquired Trae Young in 2018 before the official season started. Young is a point guard from The University of Oklahoma and 6-feet-2-inches weighing 181 pounds. It left many Atlanta fans angry at first when they watched the Hawks give up their third-round pick to the Mavericks fifth-round pick. Young didn’t have the best start in NBA history by a long shot, but the former Sooner started picking up the pace as the NBA season moved forward.
Trae Young has shown the potential that one day he could become an offensive hall of fame player. Young has shown his three-point ability, but I would like to see him stop shooting from unnecessary distances as he has done. He can make some of these far away three-point shots, but he still misses a good bit of the time.
I had the chance to watch Young play two times at State Farm Arena in Atlanta last season. I watched Trae Young in person as he put up 49 points, 16 assists, and 8 rebounds against the Chicago Bulls. The last person to do something similar was LeBron James in 2004 as a rookie put up 40 points and 10 assists.
Trae Young is great on offense, and he hopefully will continue to grow and mature on the offensive side. Young has been compared to great players like Steve Nash and Steph Curry for his abilities on the court.
The biggest problem that comes with Young is the fact he is a defensive liability. It seems like Young doesn’t take pride in playing a strong defensive game. He lets bigger players push him around and bait him away from open players. Young plays like a completely different player after the Hawk’s offense turns over the ball.
Young is ranked last in the league for defensive RPM and ranked second to last in defensive PIPM. After ramping up his success as the season progressed, the Hawk’s offense ranked better as Young improved his game. He has the ability to be a game-changer for the Hawks but his lack of defensive drive makes it hard to imagine the Hawks could win playoff games.
The Hawks do have strong defensive players though. I can see Alex Len and De’Andre Hunter picking up the slack for Young, but they can’t be everywhere on the court at once. What helps Young is his passing ability. He is not hesitant to pass the ball and he has had decent accuracy so far. The Hawks have reported that Young has put on 15 pounds of muscle since the NBA Summer League. That might help resolve some of his issues with players that defeat him with size and also help his passing accuracy.
The newest draft pick and Hawks rookie will be Cam Reddish from Duke University to play as the small forward on the starting five line-ups. Reddish has the potential to receive the Rookie of the Year Award from the NBA if he can perform better than his Duke teammate, Zion Williams, who will play for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Vince Carter will bring some experience to the team when he breaks the record this season for playing the most consecutive NBA seasons. After this season Carter will be the only player to have played in 22 seasons. His defensive game isn’t the best but perhaps he can motivate Young to start thinking of ways to improve his defensive capabilities.
Teams playing the Hawks will plan around the fact that Young leaves a defensive hole wide open every turnover. Young can score 100 points in a game but if he lets the other team do the same thing, there’s no point to scoring those 100 points. In the game where the Hawks played the Bulls, Young helped the franchise record its highest-scoring game ever. This is great but it won’t take the team to the NBA Finals if they don’t keep five guys playing on both sides of the ball at all times.