It’s only been three games, but Trae Young is already the future of the NBA. In the Hawks’ win over the Cavaliers on Sunday, Trae became the third rookie since 2000, joining none other than LeBron James and Steph Curry, to score at least 35 points while dishing out at least 10 assists. Reminder: Trae did that in his third career game.
On draft night, when the Hawks made the trade to give up Luka Doncic for Trae Young and the Mavericks 2019 first-round pick. I was upset.
However, after watching Trae in summer league, pre-season and now the regular season, I understand what Hawks’ general manager Travis Schlenk was doing.
Trae Young represents the ideal type of player for the modern NBA. He is a threat with, or without the ball, and has very few offensive holes. Similar to Steph Curry and Damian Lillard, Trae Young has the ability to pull up from beyond the arc with ease, as well as having the ability to catch and shoot like JJ Redick or Kyle Korver. Even when his shot is not falling, you still have to guard Trae tight, because he can pull up and score from basically anywhere, even just inside half-court.
Despite how good Trae’s shooting is, his best quality is his playmaking ability. In his lone season at Oklahoma, Trae Young led the NCAA in assists with 8.3 per game. However, that number should have been much higher had it not been for the rest of his Oklahoma teammates not being very good at basketball. In his first three NBA games, Trae has had five, nine and 11 assists.
The biggest testament to why Trae is the perfect superstar today is the type of shots that he takes or creates. In his amazing game Sunday against Cleveland, all but one of Trae Young’s attempted shots were either layups or three-pointers. All of his assists were to 3-point shots or layups.
Out of every player in the 2018 NBA Draft, Trae Young might have had the highest ceiling (Luka Doncic, DeAndre Ayton and Michael Porter Jr. are close). He led the NCAA in scoring and assists while being double-teamed on 43.7% of his possessions. He has the ability to be a 50/40/90 shooter, while also being a 10+ assists per game player.
Yes, his offense will be streaky and his defense is subpar. But, Trae Young is still an amazing young player with the potential to be an All-NBA player who could be one of the best offensive players in the NBA.