We saw the improvement in Trae Young every night he stepped on the floor, but most basketball minds would be lying if they told you they expected him to make this big of a leap. Just a year and a half after being drafted, he is fourth in the NBA in points per game, and fifth in steals. Trae has already established himself as a star and is patiently awaiting reinforcements to take the Hawks to the next level.
Young is so good on offense that it is hard to imagine the ceiling being much higher, but it is. What he is doing in year two, the Hawks’ record aside, has the makings of a future Hall of Famer. He will continue to improve his ridiculous offensive skillset, but the next step for him to become one of the league’s elite will be to improve on the defensive side of the ball. For all his greatness on offense, he is ranked 300th among qualified players in defensive rating. The Hawks’ defense as a whole does not help matters much, but he will have to work hard to try to become a league-average defender, and not give so many points back.
The good news is that there is reason to believe Young can see a big-time improvement in this category next season. He is taking extra steps to bolster his conditioning this offseason, and hopefully, added strength will help him on that side of the ball.
For those who haven’t seen, Trae bought a beautiful house in Norman, Oklahoma recently, and man, it is crazy how far $1.5 million goes in that neck of the woods. That is wonderful for him, but what really stood out about the purchase is he will actually be having his trainers and a nutritionist live with him during the offseason. Of course, all players are grinding during the offseason, but this seems to be a different level of preparation, and it won’t hurt that he will be feeling comfortable in his home roots. If Trae can add significant muscle mass, he should be able to hang with more of the grown men in the NBA. After all, the way he is playing, it is easy to forget he is just 21 years old.
Few players work as hard and want to win as bad as Young. He is going to put in the effort to become a more balanced player, and in turn, potentially the best point guard in basketball. For now, it appears he is taking steps to improve his chances of making that leap soon, which is promising to see.