Following the acquisition of Dejounte Murray this offseason, expectations were as high as ever for the Hawks, so a 13-11 start has been a bit of a disappointment for everyone involved. Adding to that disappointment is Trae Young’s recent spat with head coach Nate McMillan. McMillan gave him an ultimatum about playing last Friday night against the Nuggets, and Young responded by not showing up to the game. I’ll be the first to say that isn’t a great look for Young, who the Hawks are expecting to lead this franchise for the next decade or so. It also doesn’t help that this appears to be the second coach Young could be on his way to getting fired. So naturally, the Trae Young haters have come out of their rat holes to bash the 24-year-old point guard.
On The Bill Simmons Podcast, Simmons and Ryen Russillo discussed which young guards they would take over Trae Young for the foreseeable future, and the list reached absolute insanity levels. To the point where both co-hosts said they would take Anfernee Simons, Desmond Bane, Tyrese Haliburton, and even Collin Sexton over Young.
I’m not here to say Trae Young doesn’t have his faults. He’s amid a miserable slump to begin this season, shooting just a hair above 40% from the field and below 30% from deep, but making these sorts of claims after a slow start, given Young’s overall body of work, is just asinine.
First of all, why do people always bash Trae Young for not winning and then praise guys like Anfernee Simons, Donovan Mitchell, Collin Sexton, Tyrese Haliburton, and others who have never come close to accomplishing what Young has on the big stage? Do people forget this man led a ragtag Hawks team to the Eastern Conference Finals and went toe-to-toe with Giannis? Had Young not been injured in the series, Atlanta might have reached the NBA Finals for the first time since they were in St. Louis. Meanwhile, most of these names Russillo and Simmons are taking over Young have yet to even reach the postseason… let alone the Conference Finals.
Young is still a player that gives his team nearly 30 points and 10 assists a night. He thrives under the bright lights and has a better resumé than nearly every 24-year-old point guard in the history of basketball. And we are talking about Desmond Bane? Tyrese Haliburton? Collin Sexton? I mean, what are we doing here?
Secondly, anyone who expects the Hawks to be a championship contender just because they acquired Dejounte Murray hasn’t been paying attention. This team can’t shoot, and their depth is borderline pathetic. Just because you have a couple of stars doesn’t mean the roster is constructed to win; just ask the Lakers.
Is Young a poor defender? Yes. Does he sometimes frustrate the hell out of you with his shot selection at critical points in the game? Absolutely. Is he the stone cold leader that some people want him to be as a top player in the NBA? No. There are plenty of things he can improve on as his career continues. But you can’t take away from what he’s already accomplished at such a young age, and he’s only going to improve in all of those areas as time passes. I’m fine with criticism, but ridiculousness like this needs to stop.
Photo: Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire
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