Potential Atlanta Hawks #1 Draft Pick: Trae Young

MORGANTOWN, WV - JANUARY 06: Trae Young #11 of the Oklahoma Sooners pulls up for three against the West Virginia Mountaineers at the WVU Coliseum on January 6, 2018 in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
MORGANTOWN, WV - JANUARY 06: Trae Young #11 of the Oklahoma Sooners pulls up for three against the West Virginia Mountaineers at the WVU Coliseum on January 6, 2018 in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

The NBA Finals have wrapped up, and the draft rumors are ramping up. Atlanta Hawks fans definitely tuned into the NBA Finals, yet the real anticipation for some time, has been for the NBA Draft on June 21st. So without further adieu, we will continue with our series, breaking down prospects that could be future Atlanta Hawks.

Our Atlanta Hawks continue to hunt for a face of the Organization. A player who not only produces numbers and wins on the court, but will also be marketable, of high character, and bring exposure to the franchise. This year’s draft, is the best opportunity the Atlanta Hawks have had in many years, to acquire such a transformational talent. In today’s installment, we analyze another candidate for the Atlanta Hawks 3rd overall pick: Oklahoma Point Guard Trae Young.

Young is a 6’2 176 lb Point Guard. He has a 6’4″ wingspan. His measurables are similar to Utah Jazz backup PG Raul Neto. Trae lead Oklahoma to an NCAA Tournament birth. He was the Big 12 Freshman of The Year, Big 12 1st team, and a consensus 1st team All American. Trae Young made history in his one and only season at OU. He became the 1st player in Division 1 History, to lead the Nation in scoring, and assists. Young also tied the NCAA single game assist record with an eye opening 22 dimes!

(I prefer to address weaknesses 1st.)

Physical Profile:

Trae Young certainly doesn’t fit the physical prototype of the typical NBA superstar. He’s very slight in build, but encouraging reports state that Young has put on 12 lbs of muscle since his team’s NCAA Tournament exit. Trae doesn’t have particularly long arms, nor is he blessed with tremendous footspeed. While he has ways to compensate on offense, where this weakness shows most, is on the defensive end. Young continuing to get stronger, will be key to him overcoming his physical limitations.


Trae Young is an excellent passer, but he also lead all Division 1 players in turnovers. A major reason for this is his lack of help. Young had no other NBA caliber teammates to feed the ball to. This often lead to Trae attempting difficult passes, in an attempt to generate easy baskets. Young was often successful at threading the needle, but when his passes failed to make it through traffic, the ensuing result was a turnover.

Shot selection:

Trae Young has great range on his jump-shot, which leads to him attempting many long threes. He makes his fair share of them, however when he misses, it is a bad possession. Misses on those long three point field goals, often lead to long rebounds, and fast break opportunities for the opposition. The attempts from way down town, also disturb the rhythm of Young’s teammates, as they rarely get the opportunity to touch the ball on such attempts.

Inability to finish at the rim:

Due to his smaller stature, Mr. Young has a difficult time finishing at the rim in traffic. He’s not particularly long or athletic. Trae also doesn’t jump very high, so he plays below the rim. He gets his shot blocked from time to time, when trying to lay it up, at the rim amongst the giants. He’s also susceptible to trail blocks. Young does have ways to compensate for this weaknesses. We will touch on that later on.

On Ball Defense:

Limited by the previously discussed lack of length, footspeed, and leaping ability, Trae Young is far from a plus on ball defender. The team that drafts him, will need to pair him with an athletic shooting guard that can also defend the PG position. This will allow the team to cross match Young, and assign him to the perimeter player least likely to score on the opposing team.



Trae Young has an elite level floater. He’s uses this crafty shot, to make up for for a couple of his aforementioned weaknesses. The floater allows him to finish drives without getting all the way to the rim. He’s able to finish over taller players inside. Young uses the fact that teams must respect his shooting ability, to set up this shot. Trae will even bank the floater high off the glass sometimes.

Basketball IQ:

Young shows a very good basketball IQ. He seems to be able to see a play a couple of steps ahead as it develops. He has no problem throwing an advance pass or a homerun pass if he sees a teammate down court with an advantage. Trae is very adept at reading passes on defense and jumping the passing lanes for a steal. (1.7 per game) Young exudes the characteristics of a leader.

Ball Handling:

Former OU PG, Trae Young is a wizard with the ball in his hands. He has crossovers, in and out dribble, behind the back, and stepback moves. Young has a great hesitation dribble, and changes speeds to get by his defender, or to create space for his jump-shot. This ball handling ability, is a major reason he’s typically able to get by defenders with ease, who are much faster than him.

Passing Ability:

The Big 12 Freshman of the year Trae Young, is a terrific passer. Young often passes with laser accuracy. He delivered many passes where his Oklahoma teammates didn’t have to take a dribble. They could just catch and shoot, or gather the ball and lay it in the basket. He’s good at getting the ball to teammates in the shooting pocket. Though he needs to cut down on the difficulty, Trae attempts, and often makes, passes that very few other players would try. He lead the entire NCAA in assists, and there were several highlight real dimes in the process.

Shooting Ability and Range:

Trae Young’s shooting range is parking lot! As soon as he walks in the area, he is a threat to take, and make a shot! He’s been known to pull up for, and make, 3 pointers from 35 feet and beyond, on a regular basis. A defender would be insane, to try going under a screen when guarding Trae. He uses his dribbling skills to free up space, and get a clean look at the basket. His release is a little lower than coaches would like. However, as long as he’s making shots at the next level, a coach may just go with the motto of, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. This shooting ability and range he displays, would also allow Trae to spot up, or come off of screens. Especially if the team that drafts him, pairs him with a 2nd good ball handler.

Draft Express made a short video breakdown of his strengths and weaknesses.

His fit with the Atlanta Hawks:

The Atlantic Hawks current starting PG Dennis Schröder, has expressed a desire to be traded. If his request is honored, then Trae Young would be an excellent fit for The Atlanta Hawks.

He would bring the most excitement of a Hawk’s draft pick in many years, since Dominique Wilkins in fact! He would bring fans to the arena, and if he plays well, increase jersey and season ticket sales. Trae Young is a potential box office draw.

He would also be polarizing, as the fan base, and fans over the country, are split on him as a prospect. This is due to the horrible slump he endured in February. He definitely brings the all-important element of today’s game, shooting. He also comes with the ability to create for, and make things easier for, guys like John Collins and Taurean Prince. He will have to be coached up on defense, but that is Head Coach Lloyd Pearce’s specialty. Young worked out for the Hawks on 6/12 and was guarded by Coach Pearce during some of the drills. The fact that he has already put on 10+ lbs of muscle in the offseason, speaks to his work ethic. He might possibly remind Atlanta Hawks GM Travis Schenck of another PG he worked with in Oakland.

Basketball Insiders’ Steve Kyler has reported that The Atlanta Hawks are high on Trae Young, and mentioned interest in trading down.

Atlanta based rap artist Quavo of the group Migos endorses the selection of Young.

NBA comparison:

Ceiling: Steve Nash/ Steph Curry

Trae Young is most commonly compared to Steph Curry due to his incredible range. He also shares a simple knack for the passing lanes. However upon closer review Young’s game resembles a young Steve Nash in many ways. Trae’s shot speed and release point are a lot closer to those Nash. His court vision and ability to rack up a large number if assists while still staying offensive minded, and in attack mode resemble that of a Pre-MVP Nash. I would say that Young is more athletic than Steve Nash, but less physically gifted than Steph Curry. He’s probably closer to Nash, than to Curry in that department. Trae Young is said to have grown up being a fan of the 2 time league MVP. I am of the belief that Young, is the 1st of many Steve Nash, Steph Curry “clones”. Watching and rooting for these type players, has shown kids that you don’t have to be super tall, or super athletic, in order to be a great player, playing this style of basketball. I think it’s great for the game!

Floor: Lou Williams/(shorter) Jamal Crawford

The worse scenario I can envision for the Atlanta Hawks and Trae Young, is Young not cutting it as a starting guard due to turnovers, streaky shooting, and a lack of defense. In that scenario, which I don’t think is likely, Young would be a super scorer 6th Man of the Year type candidate. I could see him as a less athletic dynamic scorer like Lou Williams, or a 6’2 version of Jamaal Crawford. Both guys are instant offense, and he’s a natural scorer like those guys. I would however, expect to see more assists from Trae, in a similar role, than Crawford or Williams. If that were the case, the ex Sooner Guard could be a valuable player, however that’s not at all what the Atlanta Hawks have in mind with the #3 overall pick. Personally I’m not “hot-take” enough, to predict a player will become an MVP, or an All-Time Great. I do see Mr. Young, becoming a top 10 point guard, in the current league, in his prime.

Expert Rankings:

Sports Illustrated expert NBA Draft analyst Jeremy Woo, ranks Trae Young 8th on his big board
My Rank:

After watching the NBA Playoffs, and seeing how much of an impact perimeter players had on the outcomes of games, Trae Young has been elevated to #3 on my: Top Pick for the Hawks, Small Board Rankings. I also like the fact that Young has openly expressed the desire to not only be the best player of his draft class, but the best player in the entire NBA.

My current rankings for the Atlanta Hawks top pick are:
1. Deandre Ayton
2. Michael Porter Jr. (if healthy)
3. Trae Young
4. Marvin Bagley III
5. Mo Bamba
6. Luka Dončić
7. Jeren Jackson Jr.
8. Wendell Carter Jr.

Next: Another Title For GS Means Hope for the Hawks

We are only 9 days away from the NBA draft. So we will find out who the Atlanta Hawks will draft soon. In the meantime, stay tuned to ATL All Day via FanSided.com for all of the latest breaking news, and extensive information on All of The Atlanta Sports Teams you love.

Please your comments below.
Also please give the squad a follow on Twitter as well.