Trae Young isn’t THAT bad on defense

Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

Exploring Trae Young’s up-and-down defense.

Trae Young can be a disruptive player on defense, help his team win, and make the playoffs this season.

Do you remember these Trae Young – five steals game versus the Sacramento Kings (on November 8, 2019) followed by, a three steals game (two days later on November 10, 2019), versus the Portland Trail Blazers?

Five Steals – versus the Sacramento Kings on November 8, 2019 –

Three Steals – versus the Portland Trail Blazers on November 10, 2019 –

Here we see the offensive highlights of Trae Young’s best two defensive games played back to back in November of 2019.

I guess it is true what Jabari Parker said after signing a lucrative contract with the Chicago Bulls, “The NBA doesn’t pay players to play defense!”

They may not pay you to play defense, but it will be held against you in a basketball court of law, if you don’t play defense – I can promise you that.

Here Trae Young blocks seven-footer Mo Bamba, from the weak side –

Look, I’m not saying that we should expect Trae Young to start scaring dunkers. However, if you can do it once?  Then perhaps you can make yourself accountable with paint – defense and anticipate plays well enough to get swipes, loosen the ball, dive on the floor, or get a timely block here and there.

That type of effort alone will make you disruptive on defense and, eventually earn that respect.

Listen to Trae Young recently discussing what he can learn from his new teammates, Rondo and Dunn –


What can Trae Young do to become effective defensively?

It’s simple – put in the work and focus like a player who is studying the details of playing defense.

Become part of a defensive – string with your teammates by exhibiting; awareness, being vocal on defense, learning the rotations, getting swipes in the paint – when the big man tries to put it on the floor, and anticipating the passing lanes for steals consistently—and making the effort-plays on defense.

I recognize the amount of physical exertion required to play this way defensively.  And that, from a coaching perspective plus the early stages of a rebuild, the Atlanta Hawks team has not put much focus on their defensive identity.

With the infusion of new veteran leadership and talent to this team, I suspect that the help has arrived – defensively and offensively.

Incorporating Clint Capela, Danilo Gallinari, Bogdan Bogdanović, Kris Dunn, Tony Snell, Rajon Rondo, and Solomon Hill to the existing players will certainly allow Trae Young to find rest offensively and to improve defensively.

Not having so many energy expenditures running the team’s offense will allow Trae to spare his legs and find the stamina to reduce his defensive liabilities.

Look, I’m not expecting any DPOTY Awards or any first-team defensive accolades for Trae Young.  However, if he is who I think he is, he’ll show up on defense, and he’ll show up on time.

Time and History will tell us if Trae Young can shed the label of being the worst defender in the NBA.  Winning cures a lot, and I believe that if the Atlanta Hawks can find a way to compete for championship titles …

People will forget about what Trae Young can’t do defensively and begin to move the conversation towards terms like; un-stoppable, un-guardable, and in-defensible.

Trae Young can turn the tables on the conversation by helping his team contend for championship titles and re-writing the narratives by being consistently disruptive on defense.

There it is – Trae Young showing us flashes that, when it comes to his basketball defense? It’s like Prego spaghetti sauce (in a Jar) –

“It’s in there!”

So, if we fans can be a little more patient – special-sauce takes a wee-bit of extra time.

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Do you think Trae Young is that bad on defense?