Atlanta Hawks: Trae Young is Thriving in the 4th Quarter

Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Hawks
Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The free throws have been particularly impressive, and it seems like Young has been living at the line in a few games. He’s drawing a nice 5.4 fouls a game, and 2.2 of those in the final period. He’s making the most of this as well, drilling over 95% of his free throws, while he only makes around 70% of them in the previous three quarters.

One reason to pump the brakes, however, is the fact that he’s only making 19% of his fourth quarter threes, which is supposed to be his calling card. He’s making up for the deep misses with the aforementioned assists and foul shots, but he’s also making strides with his inside scoring. Only Miles Plumlee  has scored more fourth quarter points in the paint, and Plumlee has nearly 9 inches on Young.

There is also no question that the former Oklahoma Sooner has played a key role in the Hawks (few) wins this year. In winning efforts, Young trails just Kent Bazemore in points in the fourth, and leads the team in assists and minutes.

In Atlanta losses, Young is as assertive as he should be. In the 4th quarter of games the Hawks eventually lost, Trae has 39 field goal attempts; the next closest is Taurean Prince with 24. In total (wins and losses), Young ranks 14th in the league in 4th quarter attempts.

All of this is very impressive, and if nothing else, it shows that Young is not shy about taking shots in crucial moments, even with less than 15 games under his belt. His usage rate (26.1 in the 1st, 26.3 in 2nd, 28.5, 3rd and 29.3 in 4th) grows each quarter, and it’s clear he has the trust and respect of coaches and teammates alike.

Obviously Young is still raw and adapting to the pro game, but to be so efficient in crunch time this early in his career is undoubtedly a good sign.