It almost feels unfathomable, but in less than two weeks, the Hawks will take the floor for the first time in nine months and competing in a game that actually counts. Even with limited fans in attendance, it should be a memorable day for the city of Atlanta as this franchise aims to turn the corner in their rebuild and begin competing after several high-quality offseason additions.
This will be the first time we see Trae Young with a supporting cast worth their weight. Last year he was thrust into a role where he was grooming rookies, even though he was only a sophomore in the league himself. Still, he was able to finish second in the NBA in assists — behind only Lebron James. Young’s usage rate should undoubtedly go down with a better supporting, which might affect his scoring a bit. However, with more bucket-getters around him, I imagine his assists could skyrocket.
Taking a look at the odds in Vegas for who will lead the NBA in assists, Trae Young has the second-best odds to rack up the most dimes (+300), just behind Lebron James (+275). Behind Young comes Luka Doncic (+400), Ricky Rubio (+600), and Ben Simmons (+1000).
Personally, and yes I’m biased, I think Young has a fantastic chance of leading the league in assists. He has another year of experience under his belt, but more importantly he will be surrounded by shooters. The Hawks love to shoot the three-ball, and Young is among the best at creating open shots; however, Atlanta finished last season dead-last 3-PT FG%. Just by making more open shots, Young’s assist numbers should rise.
Still, I think Vegas has the odds just right. James rightfully should be the favorite after averaging over ten assists per game last season, but with Schroder in Los Angeles, we could see James off the ball more often like he has been for the majority of his career. That would open the door for Young. However, when you take the possibility for injuries into account, 3/1 odds seems fair for Young. I’m just not sure there is good enough value at that number to put any money — if you’re a betting man.