I wrote yesterday about how ridiculous it was that Trae Young was left off Team USA’s 44 finalists for the Olympics that take place this Summer. Names that did make the cut include Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Kyle Kuzma, Javale McGee, Mason Plumlee, and Dwight Howard… Is it 2010? Anyways, not too long after the announcement, Trae Young took the high road on Twitter, congratulating the 44 that did make the cut and the 12 that will eventually make the team.
Young’s a class act, but he’s also human. This one cut a little deeper than the rest. Here’s what he had to say to the AJC’s Sarah K. Spencer before Monday’s game against the Magic:
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hurt by seeing it. … Obviously I would have wanted to play on the team,” Young said.
The second-year point guard is fourth in the entire NBA in scoring and second in assists. There is no disputing whether or not he is one of the 44 best players in the league; he’s a starter in the All-Star Game for God’s sake. It is utterly shameful that some of the names made the cut over him. However, Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce did not show the same sentiment. Here’s what he had to say to Spencer when asked if it was difficult to see Young miss out on Team USA:
“No, because honestly I respect the league, I respect the levels and layers you have to go through. Trae’s having a great year. These guys have had great careers,” Pierce said.
Perhaps there is some truth to Pierce’s statement, and there are guys who probably have earned the right to make the final roster over Young, but they aren’t named Marcus Smart, Javale McGee, Derrick White, and Kyle Kuzma. Leaving Young off the list of 44 finalists seems intentional and downright wrong, and I wish Coach Pierce, who is an assistant for Team USA, had made that point rather than defending ludicrous decision-making. However, if there is a player that will harness this and use it as positive motivation, it’s Young. This will go down as just another slight in his mental bank that helps propel him to the next level.