Hawks: Trae Young pushes back on ‘coach killer’ label

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Trae Young is only 24 years old after entering the league as a fresh-faced 20-year-old. Despite only accruing five seasons, it seems the NBA world holds the Hawks superstar to a different standard.

The most popular narrative surrounds Luka Doncic and Trae Young due to the 2018 draft night trade between the Hawks and Mavericks. Many claim Atlanta was fleeced, despite the pair accomplishing very similar things as professionals — All-Stars, All-NBAs, conference finals appearances, and no MVPs or championships.

Thankfully, there are still some out there that know ball. Draymond Green most recently came to Young’s defense. After all, you rarely hear how the Suns or Kings blew it, drafting Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley, respectively — both of whom don’t belong in the same conversation as Young and Doncic.

Another negative narrative surrounding the Hawks’ point guard is his label as a ‘coach killer.’

Young began his career under Lloyd Pierce, who was heralded for his ability to develop young talent. Eventually, he took the club as far as he could and was relieved of his duties. Nate McMillan succeeded Pierce and led the Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals but was fired just two years later.

Now, talking heads are spouting off nonsense about Trae Young being a coach killer, which he rightfully takes offense to.

“This journey has been tough because, to be honest, I didn’t have very many coaches growing up every year. I didn’t really have too many different AAU coaches,” Young said on The Draymond Green Show.

“So being labeled a Coach killer was crazy to me. But Lloyd coming in, he was my first coach, and having him, he was perfect for us. We were a young team. And the thing is, LP will tell you, he was brought in to develop guys. He was a development guy from Philly, was getting everybody right. This is his first job. His first day on the job was basically my first day on the job, too. So we came in together. I got nothing but love for LP. But a lot of people want to label it me versus him,” Young continued.

“Yeah, we butted heads a couple of times, and certain things, certain situations, but we always had respect for each other. And so people don’t always want to label that part and mention that part.”

Trae Young and Pierce’s relationship was rocky, but it was never such with McMillan. The pair had a good relationship. Moreover, there are countless stars in this league that have experienced time with multiple coaches.

Devin Booker entered the league in 2015-16, and the Suns have gone through a handful of head coaches since that period — Jeff Hornacek, Earl Watson, Jay Triano, Igor Kokoškov,  Monty Williams, and now Frank Vogel. However, nobody ever says that Booker is a coach killer. Hell, Luka Doncic played a role in the Mavericks ousting long-time head coach Rick Carlisle.

Moreover, Nate McMillan is currently out of the league but certainly won’t garner another head coaching opportunity, and the same can be said for Lloyd Pierce, who is a current assistant for the Pacers.

Trae Young is a lot of things, but a coach killer isn’t one of them.

Photographer: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire
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