Atlanta Hawks: What to make of Trae Young’s shooting struggles


Trae Young has burst onto the scene with electric showings like the 35 points and 11 assists he put up in just his 3rd NBA game. Young entered the league known for leading the NCAA in scoring last year, averaging nearly 30 points per game. So far in the NBA; however, it’s been his passing that has been so impressive.

The rookie out of Oklahoma is putting up 7.4 assists per contest- good for ninth in the league. That number is only going to go up with experience and increased talent around him, but what has not been nearly as consistent is his shooting.

In October, Young averaged 19.1 points on 42.9% from the field and 34.0% from the three-point line- quality numbers for a 20-year-old’s first seven games. The same cannot be said for his shooting in the month of November, especially from behind the arc. Young shot an astonishing 19.8% from three, going 17 for 86 in the month. He followed that up with another 0 for 5 performance from three-point range in the Hawks opening game of December, which leads to the question- should the Hawks be worried?

After all, they did pass up on Luka Doncic, who leads all rookies in scoring and is second in player efficiency.

That is a fair excuse to worry, but there are a few reasons why the Hawks should be perfectly content with their selection.

First off, Young is a newly turned 20-year old with no professional basketball experience and only one year of college basketball experience. It would be ludicrous not to expect him to hit some sort of rough patch over the course of the season.

Secondly, Young has already proven over his first 20+ games that he is so much more than just a three-point shooter. He is already the best rookie at setting up his teammates. That is a part of his game that is getting Steve Nash comparisons. Also, he is a terrific finisher around the rim despite his smaller stature, using floaters and the glass to finish over bigger defenders.

Lastly, shooting has always been one of Young’s best attributes. I like to say your shot never leaves you, even when you retire. It is not like the three-point line moving back makes much of a difference. Young has shown he has unlimited range since he was in high school. Shooting ability does not regress over one’s career. It normally only gets better. This is nothing more than a flash in the pan, and Young’s numbers will eventually move towards the mean.

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