Hawks’ Trae Young sounds off on ‘overrated’ label from anonymous peers

Atlanta Hawks, Trae Young. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks, Trae Young. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports /

Outside opinions of Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young vary but are usually polarized. So, when the results of a poll of anonymous players revealed sentiments that Young was the most overrated player in the NBA, it naturally caused a bit of a stir.

But Young made quick work of it during an appearance on “Gil’s Arena” with former NBA star Gilbert Arenas on August 4, saying that “I don’t really care about it”.

“Even on that certain list…I may look at it for five seconds because somebody sent it to me, or my homies seeing it and send it to me,” Young said. “And I’m like…there’s only 58 people that voted. There’s 450 players in the league. So if there’s only 58, I’m sure it’s not the guys that I’m really on the court with for real, that I’m competing against.”

Young has previously said that he doesn’t want to always play the villain role.

This outright rejection of that poll is a step in the same direction in that Young is speaking out more to control the narrative around him. He led the league in total assists and averaged 26.2 points, 10.2 assists, and 3.0 rebounds per game.

“I know what I bring to the team,” Young continued. “I know what I bring to the table…the real ones know. Real ones get it – what I bring. And I’ll just try to win and hoop.”

Despite his on-court exploits, Young failed to earn an All-Star selection; the second time in the last three seasons after he made his first one. Were it not for the 2021-22 season that eventually saw him lead the league in total points and total assists and was undeniably and All-Star, he might only have one appearance to this point in his career.

“I haven’t been an All-Star unless I’m voted as a starter,” he said. “And then two years…it was left into the coaches’ hands I didn’t make it. But…if you look at the seasons, I was winning more in the [non-All-Star] seasons than I did when I was an All-Star starter.”

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“I’ll just come to the realization if I ain’t voted in as a starter, who knows if I’ll be in,” Young continued. “I don’t really worry about it too much.”

His plans are certainly much grander than individual accomplishments.

Trae Young focused on bringing championships to Atlanta Hawks

There were rumors (and maybe faint hope in some corners) that Young would be the next star player to demand a trade. Instead, he has reiterated his commitment to bringing a championship to Atlanta in various ways, doing so again on Arenas’ podcast, taking a bit of umbrage to the host’s assertion that he won’t be able to win a title because ownership won’t spend as needed.

“It’s okay. They didn’t think we were gonna get to the Eastern Conference Finals,” Young said.

Young said he didn’t know why the perceptions about him are what they are. But he does know what it will take to change them.

For all of the hand-wringing, the Hawks are 114-98 with him in the lineup over the last three seasons. And he has led them to the postseason in each of those seasons to snap a three-year playoff drought for the franchise.

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While his individual accolades have gotten much-deserved publicity, what he’s helped the franchise do in a short time cannot be ignored either.