Can Trae Young Take The Next Step In His NBA Career?

Atlanta Hawks, Trae Young (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks, Trae Young (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Hawks season kicks off tonight on the road with the Detroit Pistons. With the momentum from the second half of the season, the expectations for the young Hawks are high coming into the season, namely Trae Young.

The rebuild is nearly complete with the Atlanta Hawks after last season where the Hawks core, Trae Young, John Collins, Kevin Huerter, took big steps in their young careers. After adding Cam Reddish and De’Andre Hunter through the draft, the expectations are high coming into the season. The consensus is torn between whether the Hawks are ready to leap into the playoffs this season, or will need one more season to get these young players experience. Regardless of what happens this season, this Hawks team is trending in the right direction, with the playoffs looming in their future.

With the season, for the Hawks, kicking off tonight, it’s time for some predictions, in terms of the players on the team and how the team will fare this upcoming season. This Hawks team is littered with young players, some rookies, who will have to be big-time contributors to this team, so it makes it hard to predict whether this will all go up in the flames or the Hawks can get into the playoffs with 40+ wins.

All Atlanta Hawks fans fell in love with Trae Young as he led this team, as a rookie, to 29 wins in a year when many assumed the Hawks would compete for the first overall pick. In terms of his offense, Young improved more and more as the season went along. In the months of November and December, Young averaged 15 points or less. However, in February, March, and April, Young scoring jumped to 23 points per game.

The problem for Trae has never his offense. It was his defense that was the biggest issue. When Young was on the floor last season, the Hawks were giving up 115 points per 100 possessions, which is very bad. On the floor, Young is easy to get by and score on, and teams often expose him when he’s out there. If the Hawks want to take a leap this season, Young will have to improve.

Being the de facto leader of this team, I fully expect Trae Young to be better this year on defense. Scoring and passing come naturally to the young point guard, but defense is something he is going to need to improve on. Adding a guy like De’Andre Hunter will help Trae not getting caught in as many mismatches off screens this season. Until Trae shows improvements on defense, there will be a question lingering over his head.