Atlanta Hawks: Despite Poor Shooting, Trae Young Deserves Rookie of the Year Hype

Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

A look at Atlanta Hawks rookie Trae Young’s stats and a discussion of why he still deserves to be in the Rookie of the Year discussion.

After watching the second and final Trae Young vs. Luka Doncic matchup of the season, now seems as good a time as any to discuss Trae Young’s place in the Rookie of the Year conversation.

While the narrative is certainly revolving almost solely around Luka Doncic (for good reason with some amazing stats for a rookie combined terrific leadership and memorable highlights) for ROY, the Eastern Conference’s Rookie of the Month Trae Young also deserves some love.

Young’s most elite skill is his passing. Ice Trae is 7th in the league in total assists with 200, and he is also 11th in assists per game with 7.1 per contest. Beyond that, his assist rate of 38.3 percent is 6th in the league, ahead of noted assist wizards Nikola Jokic, LeBron James and Ricky Rubio.

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However, Trae’s scoring, while supremely inefficient, is also quite impressive for a rookie. Though his lowly three-point percentage is certainly eye-gougingly bad (23.7 percent at last check), he is second on the Atlanta Hawks in scoring at 15.5 points per game and his 434 total points pace the team.

Among his rookie class, Young is tied for second in scoring with DeAndre Ayton with those 15.5 – just ahead of Collin Sexton’s 15.4 PPG.

Historically speaking, Young is already in some striking company regarding his scoring and assist numbers.

Trae Young has already produced 5 games in which he has put up 20 points and 10 assists in the first 28 games of his rookie year, and that total of 5 has him in the Top 20 all-time for 20-point, 10-assist games for a rookie season.

The lofty record of 33 such games is held by none other than The Big O, Oscar Robertson, but if Trae continues at the same pace he’s produced so far this year, he will pass luminaries such as Michael Jordan, Stephen Curry and Magic Johnson (who all had 8). If Trae puts up 7 more games of 20-point, 10-assist production, he will pass Allen Iverson for 3rd all-time on that list. Not bad company for our 20-year-old rookie.

Young definitely has his ups and downs, but for the most part, it is not beyond the realm of possibility to see him finishing Top 3 in the Rookie of the Year race with some combination of Doncic, Ayton and Jaren Jackson Jr.

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His shooting and defense have been subpar, but Trae Young’s sheer production for the Atlanta Hawks deserves to be mentioned in this year’s league-wide narrative come awards season.