Let’s be clear here HawksHoopers. I think there were more than a few eyes raised when the Hawks pulled the trade shipping Luka Doncic to the Dallas Mavericks for Trae Young. I for one was definitely thinking...What in the world are these guys doing? I remember being on the radio analyzing the draft and using the “T” word. That would be “tank”. However, Atlanta’s new General Manager, Travis Schlenk is fresh off the plane after helping construct the NBA’s superteam, the Golden State Warriors. Anybody who worked under Bob Myers and Jerry West commands patience and time to see where the vision and direction of the franchise goes from here.
With the Golden State Warriors leading the roost in the NBA now and for the foreseen future, the other teams are trying to tap into the intelligence that is the Warriors blueprint to improve their rosters going forward. The Hawks are no different with Schlenk being poached from the Warriors front office.
Schlenk’s draft picks and moves shows us that the Hawks are under construction but they have an identity and plans that explains why? When Mike Budenholzer was in town, the Hawks tried to emulate the San Antonio Spurs. Now it will be the Warriors. So let’s discuss the crown jewel pick if you will for the Hawks…
Trae Young was a shocker of a move in the trade, but let’s take a deeper look at the trade. The Hawks acquired a protected 2019 first round pick as well. Dallas is not a playoff team this year so Schlenk is already stockpiling draft picks for the future. Evidence of that was shown later that night with the trade of Devonte’ Graham for two future second round picks. But the question here is...Is Trae Young the right player to build a franchise around?
HawksHoop will have a two part series concerning the question of Trae Young and if he is the future face of the franchise.
The other part of this two part series showed why Trae Young was the perfect fit for Atlanta. We now at HawksHoop will flip the script showing why he is NOT what the Atlanta Hawks need at this time.
1. He’s already linked to a superstar
Before my editor goes back to the other article to see if I am copying my own work. No I’m not. Trae Young has been compared to three time NBA champion Stephen Curry. Understand Curry’s team has been to the Finals four times in a row with a strong possibility for five. This is too much pressure for a Trae Young, no check that, ANY PLAYER to be compared to this caliber a star.
Stephen Curry has the luxury of having his father, Dell to play in NBA for an extended period of time. Fair to Young or not, that is a very relevant factor here.
Plus Stephen Curry has been in the league for close to a decade now. Doesn’t seem that long but he’s on his THIRD NBA contract. What are we comparing here? Are we comparing Young to the Curry that is playing now or the Curry coming out of college at Davidson.
Curry was a lottery pick, just like Young. Shoot Young was actually picked higher, but Curry was put in a position where he had time to develop. The NBA was not sold on Steph being the superstar that he is today.
Trae Young is saddled with the pressure of being the man from day one. The tickets are being sold on the premise that the Hawks will usher in the new era with this guy at the forefront. That is a lot of pressure for a kid that had one year of college.
2) Trae Young can score...but can he shoot?
This just in to HawksHoop! Stephen Curry can shoot. I mean he can really shoot. Everyone marvels at the distance from where he shoots, but he can shoot from anywhere, including the free throw line.
Trae Young led the NCAA in scoring at a robust 27.4 points per game. The only issue is he put up a whole lot of shots to get there. Young only shot 36 percent from three point land and 42 percent overall.
Looking deeper into the shooting of Young, shows that his stats steadily declined against more quality opponents. When Young’s scoring prowess was no longer a secret and opponents geared their defense to stop him, the Sooners struggled the last half of the season losing 11 of their last 15 games. Couple that with the fact that Trae Young’s numbers fell across the board in conference play, that does not bode well for him in the NBA. If Young struggles with his shot coming out of the gate, teams will force him to prove that he can hit an open shot. If he cannot, the pick and roll offense will be a show and prove, dare you to shoot match with the defender constantly going under screens. Another knock on Young was the timely scores when the Sooners needed it in crunch time. Will Young have the ATL swagger to knock down the big shot with time running out?
I hate bringing up old stuff, but Trae Young was throwing up bricks in the NBA Summer League in Utah. I mean he was...to be kind here....slightly off. Young shot 23.1 percent from the field and an anemic 12.5 percent from the land of three. Over time, he gradually improved but this is not a good look when your reputation is a “shooter” being compared to a dude with the last name of Curry. If he struggles against lesser talent over the summer, what are the chances in the pros?
This league is built around players that can knock down shots. If Young struggles, this will be a major problem for him and the Hawks.
3) NBA opponents are going to pick and roll this dude to death!
Not on offense HawksHoopers, but on defense. He play the point guard position. Let’s go through the list of point guards he may be playing against…
The murderers row includes…
- Chris Paul
The best leader in basketball. One hamstring pull and the Rockets could have easily made the NBA Finals. Plus he can post up. Trae Young will have issues. One more thing to note, if he’s sitting Houston has James Harden to handle the ball too. Houston is known for threes but they run a mean pick-and-roll.
- Stephen Curry...said enough about him. Self explanatory...next!
- Rajon Rondo
Plays for the Lakers but did you see what he did to Damian Lillard. For the sake of this argument, throw Jrue Holliday in there too.
- Ben Simmons
Yep he’s the point guard for the Sixers. Also he’s 6’8! If the pick and roll is in effect, guess who the Sixers are targeting? Forget Markelle Fultz until we see him play about a month.
- Kyrie Irving
Let’s just hope he doesn’t do a Uncle Drew sequel when Young is put in front of him. If he owns Stephen Curry on offense...well?
- Russell Westbrook
This should make my point crystal clear. Think Trae Young will take that charge? By the way, Westbrook has gotten BIGGER this offseason. Does he ever take time off?
Lloyd Pierce is a defensive coach. That is a good thing because he is going to have to come up with a scheme that covers Trae Young’s weaknesses. Golden State did a good job doing this with Curry, it’s up to the Hawks to do the same until Young gets stronger and has a better understanding of the NBA game..
In college, the defense was not as big a priority because the Sooners needed him to put the ball in the basket. The Atlanta Hawks will need more on the defensive end from Trae Young.
When it is all said and done, Trae Young has not played a real NBA game yet. He needs to make mistakes, learn from them and mature. The good thing is that he does not have to carry the entire franchise by himself.
The good thing here is that now is the time to develop and learn the NBA game. Will Trae Young struggle? Sure, but so will the other rookies this year. Travis Schlenk has given him plenty of leadership help. Vince Carter, Thomas Robinson and Jeremy Lin will help smooth the transition and help Young become a professional in the league.