Luka Doncic is a name that has captivated the nation because of how he’s been able to produce so quickly for the Mavericks and particularly late in games. He’s the clear front-runner for rookie of the year and it would be unfair to have to put any one rookie against him right now.
Well, that’s exactly what Trae Young has had to deal with.
Since being in a trade with Doncic on Draft night, Trae has had to deal with the constant comparisons between himself and Luka. We all knew that Luka was more NBA ready given his time with Real Madrid, so it would be unfair to put Trae Young in that conversation.
But, regardless, they came and because of the poor stats from Young, the Doncic hive has gotten more ammunition.
Let’s take the time for a second to look into Trae’s stats because today, we are going to try to show that his stats are not nearly as poor and he’s not playing as bad as they suggest. While his stats don’t look great on the surface, if you dig a little deeper, there can be some promising takeaways.
Trae is shooting right at 38% from the field and 25% from deep on the season. But, let’s look at how he’s fared in games where he’s played above 35 minutes.
Above 35 minutes:
26.0 PTS, 12.5 AST, 1.0 STL, 3.3 TOV, 48.8 FG%, 39.4 3PT%, 91.7 FT%
Under 35 minutes:
13.9 PTS, 6.4 AST, 0.8 STL, 4.0 TOV, 35.7 FG%, 20.9 3PT%, 76.6 FT%
Now, it’s easy to argue against these numbers because the sample size is so small of games he’s played over 35 minutes (just 4). But, the fact that he hasn’t had a bad game when playing that many minutes should be the only thing that matters. Trae is someone who just needs to be on the court to get warmed up and it’s important to be patient with him. There’s a reason why his 4th quarter is by far his worst quarter, it’s the one in which he plays the least minutes!
1st quarter stats:
7.1 MIN, 2.9 PTS, 1.5 AST, 1.1 TOV, 36.2 FG%, 30.0 3PT%
2nd quarter stats:
8.2 MIN, 4.8 PTS, 2.3 AST, 0.9 TOV, 38.4 FG%, 24.0 3PT%
3rd quarter stats:
7.1 MIN, 4.3 PTS, 2.0 AST, 1.1 TOV, 45.5 FG%, 34.2 3PT%
4th quarter stats:
6.8 MIN, 3.4 PTS, 1.4 AST, 0.8 TOV, 31.9 FG%, 10.3 3PT%
Sure, it’s not a huge decrease in minutes, but again, it still shows that it’s worth playing Trae more minutes.
Now, there are two main concerns with Trae Young, his defense and three point shooting. As for his shooting, we strongly believe that over time, he’s going to improve. Give him more minutes and more opportunities to make mistakes so that he can learn. As for the defense, yes…it’s tough to find positives. And mostly it has to do with his lack of size:
Once he puts on some muscle, guards like Mudiay won’t be allowed to back him down so easily. His defensive technique isn’t too great as he has to get lower and be more aggressive. What the Hawks need is someone to guide him through his struggles as there’s no true defensive guard on the roster right now that can lead him. Hopefully that changes.
What Trae does so well though is his passing. He has the ball-handling ability to get by the initial defender and draw in the help which gives him an avenue to drop it off to Dedmon, Len, or Collins.
So, what we should take away from this post is one thing: Be patient. Trae Young is going to continue to learn and we bet that if he gets more minutes, he’s going to start to raise those averages.
Let’s leave you with one note that should provide you some comfort if the stats we have provided haven’t:
Trae Young has a True Shooting % of 47.9% this year.
Yes, it’s bad. You know what’s worse than that? 46.4%.
That was Kemba Walker’s in his rookie season.