Trae Young graded poorly, blamed for holding Atlanta Hawks back

Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

This postseason has been the antithesis of Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young’s regular season. His Hawks are on the brink of elimination down 3-1 to the Heat with Tuesday’s Game 5 set in Miami. That means on top of the 4.9% chance that history gives them to win the series, they are up against a 16-25 road record during the regular season to keep their postseason alive.

They lost both matchups in Miami during the regular season, too.

Young had a historic run during the regular season averaging 28.4 points and 9.7 assists while shooting 38.2% from beyond the arc. But the postseason has seen those numbers drop off precipitously.

His performance has drawn rounds of criticism ranging from how he is used to, even more loudly, how he has handled the pressure Miami is putting on him.

This postseason has exposed Trae Young to a different level of criticism

In many ways, the Hawks run to the Eastern Conference Finals was a detriment. It made them bored with the regular season, per Young. Expectations were raised after seeing how they came together at the right time en route to a six-game tilt versus the Milwaukee Bucks (guilty). The regular season was a roller coaster of injuries and inconsistency.

Young, though, had been a steady source of optimism as the Hawks sorted through their myriad issues. Now, as is often the case with faces of a franchise, the skepticism is centered around Young as well amid his team’s struggles.

Bleacher Report’s Mo Dakhil handed out grades to every playoff team’s star. Young was given the only ‘F’ on the list.

"This playoff run has been a complete disaster for Young. One of the league’s premiere sharpshooters is shooting just 21.2 percent from three, a far cry from his 38.2 percent in the regular season. In addition, his assists are down from 9.7 to 6.0 per game, and his turnovers have gone up from 4.0 to 6.0."

Young’s 16.5 points per game are still second-most on the team. He’s also overcome better than most will acknowledge in Games 2 and 3 with 24.5 points and 7.5 assists. But the efficiency just has not been there as he’s shooting 47.1% from the floor and just 4-of-16 threes in that span.

Dakhil cites Young’s floater in Game 3 as his one shining moment of the postseason before closing.

"This has been about as disappointing of a postseason run as you could expect from someone as good as Young."

That isn’t the only vitriol Young has seen over the past few days, much of it has come from the base after Game 4.

Young was also listed as the one player holding the Hawks back by Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz who does go on to expand the blame.

"The Hawks superstar isn’t the only one struggling to get clean looks off, as Kevin Huerter, Danilo Gallinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic are all shooting 40.8 percent or worse in the series."

Both Dakhil and Swartz acknowledge how good of a player Young is while acknowledging the unique challenge the Heat present with Swartz adding, “Atlanta likely wouldn’t have even won a game against Miami if not for Young”.

Young told’s Kevin Chouinard that this is the type of challenge he hasn’t faced in some time.

“I haven’t been guarded like this … since like high school. Obviously, it’s way better competition, so it’s hard for me to score a lot more through the double-teams and face guards.”

Calls for him to perform better are universal, though, and Young is a player who has openly spoken of thriving in challenging situations (subscription required).

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He will need to do so once again on Tuesday night in Miami. The Hawks postseason lives depend on it.