Atlanta Hawks: Trae Young Is The Best Rookie in Team History

Trae Young (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Trae Young (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Hawks have been a winning franchise, making the playoffs for ten consecutive years prior to last season. However they have never reached the NBA Finals due to a lack of star power. Atlanta finally has the superstar we have been waiting for, as Trae Young is having the best rookie season in team history.

Trae Young continues to wow Atlanta Hawks fans with his pin point passes, insane range and dazzling ball handling skills. He recently had a game for the ages, scoring an incredible 49 points, dishing out 16 dimes and grabbing eight rebounds, in the Hawks four overtime thriller against the Bulls. Trae who started the season in a shooting slump, has gotten comfortable, and bounced back in a major way. He is now currently having the best rookie season of any Atlanta Hawk in history.

Saying that Trae Young is the best Atlanta Hawks rookie ever, may seem like a hot take at first glance. However a closer look at the numbers says that there is some true validity to that statement. As Trae Young continues to have big games, he continues to place himself among Hall of Fame players, when it come to setting rookie records. In the phenomenal performance against Chicago, Young become only the third rookie in the last 40 years, to score 40 or points and dish out at least ten assists. He is joined by only Michael Jordan and LeBron James, the two players who many believe are the greatest to every play this game.

ESPN provided the incredible stat via their Twitter account:

To take it even further Trae Young is the only rookie to score 45 or more points and drop 15 or more dimes in a game. Bleacher Report acknowledged the feat in this tweet:

Trae Young’s performance in the game against Chicago isn’t the only thing that has NBA circles buzzing. He has been on a tear recently scoring at least 35 points in three consecutive contests. Only Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, and Bernard King are the only players in NBA history to do so in their rookie seasons. Justin Kubatko of basketball reference acknowledged Trae Young’s place in history via Twitter:

Young has been on a major tear recently. He came into Sunday averaging 34.8 points per game and 10.4 assists since the All Star break. In fact he leads the entire NBA in scoring since the break. Not only has he played well for the short stretch since the All Star game, he’s played well over an extended period of time, while shooting the ball very efficiently. Brad Rowland of Peachtree Hoops provided us with the great numbers in this tweet:

Not only is Trae Young setting records for his recent fantastic play. He’s setting records for the entire season. He was named NBA Rookie of the Month for the fourth time this season. That is every month of the season, with the exception of December.

Trae is most often compare to Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry. Curry is without peer when it come to shooting, as he might be the best shooter to ever play in the NBA. However when looking at the stat comparison, Trae Young compares much more comparable to Curry than one might imagine. Curry played more minutes than Young getting 36.2 minutes of playing time compared to just 31 for Trae.

Currently Young is averaging more points, scoring 18.3 compared to Curry scoring 17.5 for his rookie campaign. Trae also leads in assists by a wide margin, dishing out 7.8 assists per game, compared to 5.9 for Steph. Where Curry crushes Trae is shooting, and that’s no surprise. Curry shot 46.2 percent from the field and 43.7 percent from three-point range as a rookie. Young on the other hand is shooting 41.3 percent overall and 33.4 percent from downtown. His percentages suffered during an early season slump.

Trae Young now has six 30 point games for the season. That surpasses Dominique Wilkins for the most 30 point games by an Atlanta Hawks rookie. In fact Young’s numbers compare very favorably to the Atlanta Hawks all time leading scorer and best player in franchise history. Take a look at the stats below:

Trae Young Stats:

MPG:31 PPG:18.3 RPG:3.4 APG:7.8 SPG:0.8 TO:4

FG%:41.3 3P%:46.4 FT%:81.6 eFG%:47.8 TS%53.4

Dominique Wilkins Stats:

MPG:33 PPG:17.5 RPG:5.8 APG:1.6 SPG:1 TO:2.2

FG%:49.3 3P%:18.2 FT%:68.2 eFG%:49.3 TS%52.4

Looking at the numbers Trae Young is currently scoring more points than Dominique Wilkins did as a rookie, in less minutes. Young leads in assists by far as expected and also turns the ball over more being the primary ball handler. Wilkins wins on the boards as expected and has a slight advantage in steals. Trae shoots the three ball and free throws much better than Wilkins, as those elements did not come until later for the Hall of Fame player.

Nique leads in field goal percentage by far as expected, due to the many dunks and high percentage shots that he took. Yet when looking at effective field goal percentage, a stat that factors in the fact that three-point baskets count for more points, the number is much closer with Wilkins leading by just two percentage points. When we get even more advanced with the stats and look at true shooting percentage, Trae Young takes the lead. True shooting percentage takes three pointers into consideration and also factors in free throw shooting.

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So as you see it is not a far stretch at all to say that if Trae Young continues to play at this level, he will have the best rookie season of any Atlanta Hawks player. The great thing is Trae Young should only improve as he matures, gets stronger and learns to better control the tempo of a game. Ladies and gentlemen it appears that the Atlanta Hawks have found their first true superstar since the great Dominique Wilkins. Let’s hope that Trae Young also ends up with a statue outside of State Farm Arena like the Hawks’ all time great. With all due respect to Dominique Wilkins, the Atlanta Hawks and Georgia Bulldogs legend, let’s also all hope that the statue of Trae Young has multiple rings carved into it.