Last time out was a thriller for Hawks fans, as they watched their team conquer one of the West’s elite in probably the toughest place to play in the NBA. Trae Young was sensational, racking 42 points and 11 assists. He made eight three-pointers – one shy of the franchise record. However, he did set several franchise marks and even did something only Michael Jordan and Lebron James have done in the process.
Young became the first player in Hawks history to record three straight games of 30+ points and 10+ assists. Here’s the list of players since 2000 that have recorded 30+ points and 10+ assists in three consecutive games – James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, and Trae Young. That’s it, that is the list. He also became just the third player ever to record multiple games of 40+ points and 10+ assists before turning 22, joining Michael Jordan and Lebron James. And not only is he putting up crazy stat lines, but he’s also putting on a show while doing it, featuring an array of moves that you’d typically see on the street or at a Washington Generals game. This man is a walking highlight real, and it might not be ridiculous to start talking about him being an MVP in year two after all.
Young will look to continue his streak of stellar play against the Suns, who have shown a world of growth in their first ten games under Monty Williams. How about this? Phoenix is first in the entire NBA in assists, averaging 28.5 a night. This is a team that has featured nothing but isolation ball for a decade. You have to give some credit to the newly acquired Ricky Rubio, but as of now, Monty Williams has to be the frontrunner for Coach of the Year, and the Suns look like they might have enough to reach the playoffs.
Devin Booker is a known commodity and a superstar in this league already. He’s averaging his typical 25 points per game, but his 5.8 assists per contest are something to get excited about. Second-year man Deandre Ayton is serving a suspension, just like John Collins, for PEDs. In his place, Aaron Baynes has been a huge acquisition, averaging 16.2 points and 5.8 rebounds a night. But what might be the most significant difference between this year’s Suns team and last year’s – their depth.
Behind what I’ve already mentioned, The Suns have Kelly Oubre, Frank Kaminsky, Tyler Johnson, Dario Saric, Cameron Johnson, and Mikal Bridges all contributing. This is a young and deep bunch that, with the right coaching, could do some serious damage in the near future. The Hawks may be coming off a high in Denver, but they better be ready for a dogfight tonight in Phoenix, or else they will be run out of the building before heading to the locker room for half time.