Hawks: When will Trae Young get the respect he deserves?

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Any player who leads the league in assists and ranks second in points should be a lock for the All-NBA team, right? Apparently not, according to the results of a poll by The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner (subscription required). 

The Hawks beat reporter surveyed 45 people who have previously voted or will vote for All-NBA teams, asking them if they would vote for Trae Young. Of those, eight said they would likely vote for Young, 14 said they wouldn’t, and 23 said they’re undecided. Shocking results, given Trae’s performance thus far this season.

Atlanta’s All-Star point guard hasn’t simply packed the stat sheet. Although Young’s 28.2 points per game and 9.6 assists per game are impressive, his impact goes beyond the numbers. As Thursday’s game against the Cavaliers demonstrated, Trae’s grit and competitiveness play a huge role. In a pivotal game, he played through an early injury to put up 30 points and nine assists — through just three quarters. The national media has overlooked Trae, perhaps due to his defense, which admittedly, isn’t great, but it shouldn’t be enough to keep him off an All-NBA team. 

Points and assists are strongly correlated to All-NBA appearances for guards. For example, ‘20-’21 All-NBA guard Steph Curry ranked number one in the league for points and didn’t even crack the top ten in assists. Following the ‘19-’20 season, James Harden was named to the All-NBA team. He was the top point scorer that season and finished number six for assists. These aren’t players anyone would call defensive specialists either. In these categories, Trae Young is currently topping both those rankings and has a realistic chance to finish number one in both. If a player like Curry was having the season Young is, he would undoubtedly be in the MVP conversation. But instead, 31% of the people have said they won’t be voting for him.

The situation is ridiculous. Statistically, Young should be a shoo-in for All-NBA honors. As the Hawks look to improve their seeding, Young has led them to four straight victories (all without John Collins). So, what will it take for Trae Young to get some respect? Because apparently it isn’t winning either.

Trae Young has led the Hawks to an Eastern Conference Finals run with a weak supporting cast. He put on a show against the Knicks, led the Hawks to an upset over the 76ers, and he very well might have beaten the Bucks had he not gone down with an injury. He’s done more with less than just about any other superstar that the media is currently in love with, yet the narratives stay the same. It’s well past time to start talking about Young as the best point guard in the NBA, but instead, we’re talking about him potentially being named to an All-NBA team. It’s embarrassing. 


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