Atlanta Hawks: Revisiting Trae Young’s Final Four Months of 2018-19

Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)
Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

After Sports Illustrated recently ranked Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks at #62 overall in its annual Top 100, let’s take a look at his striking final four months to explore why that might be a tad too conservative.

Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks took a while to get acclimated to the NBA, but once he did, the 20-year-old rookie did not look back and carried an Atlanta Hawks team to some scintillating victories along the way.

He did it all with a style and panache all his own that’s propagated by his indelible passing ability, smooth handle and extremely deep pull-up triples.

Though Young got walloped in Rookie of the Year voting by Luka Doncic (players that were traded for one another on draft night), Young was named unanimously to the All-Rookie First Team – underscoring the fact that the major awards are solely narrative-based, nothing more.

Per, Young was 25th in the league in scoring with 21.9 points per game from January 1, 2019 to the final game of the regular season in April. When looking at his other stats, it becomes apparent that Young was the better rookie between Doncic and himself as soon as the calendar hit 2019.

Though Doncic did outscore Ice Trae in points per game, Young was more efficient and had a higher on/off rating than his feted fellow rookie. Comparing various stats, Young bested Doncic in field goal percentage (43.3% vs. 41.9%), three-point percentage (35.3% vs. 29.2%), free throw percentage (85.4% vs. 67.7%), assists per game (8.6 vs. 6.8) and on/off rating (-2.0  vs. -3.6).

Both players played almost the same amount of minutes per game, but Young’s Atlanta Hawks also played 8 more games than the Mavericks did.

During that time, both players piled up 19 double-doubles, though Doncic was able to nab eight triple-doubles to Young’s one.

However, in a league that is obsessed with efficiency it seems odd that Young’s astonishing close to his rookie season is almost completely overlooked, potentially due to his truly terrible defense.

Next. Comparing Rookie Years of Trae & Kev to Steph & Klay. dark

Yet it seems odd that a league dominated by smaller, speedy guards with smooth three-point strokes and flashy dribble packages would not welcome Young with open arms – and give him the credit he deserves for being the best rookie during the calendar year of 2019, no matter what awards might say.