Sixers’ guard makes bold claim about Hawks’ Trae Young, Dubs’ Steph Curry

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

One of Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young’s contemporaries is sending lofty praises his way.

“Obviously, Trae Young is an elite basketball player,” said Philadelphia 76ers guard Patrick Beverley on the “Pat Bev Podcast with Rone” on August 16.

“Let’s not forget, he’s won plenty of games, he’s hit plenty of daggers, he’s reinventing the game. Whatever Steph Curry is leaving over, he’s taking it and running with it….he took his team Eastern Conference Finals, he’s one big on the road, you know what I’m saying? So you have to give him a lot of credit.”

Young, 24, led the league in total assists this past season averaging 10.2 per game to go with 26.2 points and 3.0 assists. Despite his prolific numbers, he was left out off of the Team USA roster for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

This after failing to make the All-Star or any of the All-NBA Teams.

“I’ve talked about playing on USA a couple times. So I definitely want to,” Young said on “Gil’s Arena” with Gilbert Arenas on August 4. “It’s up to them if they want me to. I mean I would love to play with guys and show off my passing even more and not have to go out and score a lot and just be there if they need me to.”

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Team USA has shown well in their exhibition matches, going 3-0 in matches against Puerto Rico, Slovenia, and Spain with Greece on deck for August 18.

Head coach Steve Kerr has praised the group’s ability to move the ball, which Young said he’d love to be able to showcase on that stage. So who would Beverley replace to get Young on Team USA’s roster?

“Close your eyes, turn around twice,” Beverley said. “Whoever you land on, that’s who you pick.”

“That’s not to take away from anybody else or how they run things with USA,” Beverley continued. “Obviously, it’s a structure that comes with it, and everybody will want to be on the team. Like De’Aaron Fox, you can make an argument about anybody…And that might leave out the some of the best people. The best group of people is better than the best people.”

Young’s next opportunity to represent his country will be next summer for the 2024 Paris Olympics, though that team is expected to be stocked with even bigger names.

“It is not a group of A-list names likely to load the roster at the Olympics next summer in Paris,” wrote ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on July 6. “Top American players are mostly limiting their participation to one of the competitions, opening opportunities for young talent.”

It could take a strong season from the Hawks to keep Young in consideration.

While theories about Young’s playing style and brand affiliation have floated around as possible explanations for his absence from Team USA, there is also a belief that he is at fault.

“I heard Trae Young did not make a great case for himself during his previous time in the Team USA program,” said ESPN’s Tim MacMahon on “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” on August 7. “I also heard at one point a question was presented to Trae Young, something along the lines of, ‘Are you ever gonna go over a bleeping screen?’”

Whatever the reason, Young remains hopeful that he will get the opportunity. Time will tell if it comes next summer or if he has to wait even longer for a chance that he would seem to be deserving of given the accolades he has.

Hawks part ways with Vit Kreci

While some are focused on Young’s potential spot on Team USA’s roster, the Hawks were making moves at the backend of theirs, parting ways with swingman Vit Krejci, the team announced.

They acquired him from the Oklahoma City Thunder for Maurice Harkless last September.

Krejci averaged 1.2 points and just a hair under 1.0 boards per game in 29 appearances off the bench.

Krejci’s energy on the bench became a positive sidenote in a tumultuous season for the Hawks with coaching changes and front-office overhauls. His contract was non-guaranteed and gets the Hawks’ roster down to size with more than a month to go still before training camps open in late September.

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Whether they make any further moves remains to be seen. But they don’t have to do anything which fits with reports that they are content to take this roster into next season as is.