Trae young was the most polarizing player in college basketball last season. The Oklahoma sharp shooter led the nation in points and assists at 27.4 and 8.7. At times, he earned the Steph Curry comparisons. However, at times, he earned the Seth Curry comparisons. Young’s season turned from one long highlight tape to a showcase of incredible potential riddled with inconsistencies as the season progressed. His decline became one of the most controversial topics in basketball. Talking heads debated whether the decrease in production should be attributed to an abysmal supporting cast, or if his hot start to the season was just that, a hot start. When the season ended, nobody was convinced Trae Young was a great basketball player. They were just convinced that he had the potential to be one.
Skip past an offseason that kept Trae Young atop the throne of polarizing prospects and a puzzling draft day trade that turned him into the anchor that will one day drag Hawks’ GM Travis Schlenk into the abyss of unemployment. Fast forward to summer league. Summer league is not a place for hot takes, but it’s impossible to ignore Young’s rough start. During his 3 games in Utah, he shot 23.1 percent from the field and 12.5 percent from 3-point range, which was the worst among players who appeared in all 3 games and logged at least 30 minutes.
His poor start included shots like these that had him slipping to the Seth Curry side of the spectrum.
Those shots weren’t anomalies either. Those were literally his first two shots. Things began to pick up for Young in the Hawks first game in Vegas. Although they lost 91-89, there were bright spots in his game. He hit shots like these that elevated him closer to the Steph Curry side of the spectrum:
He also showed off his court vision and passing ability, two weapons from his arsenal that helped him lead the nation in assists in college.
A small dose of potency from beyond the arc from Young could go a long way towards his team’s overall success. Teammate John Collins hit 4 three pointers in their game against the Knicks, a career high. Hawks’ head coach Lloyd Pierce said, “I give Trae a lot of credit for that because of his ability to stretch the floor and find his open teammates.” He also expressed confidence in Young’s jump shot, “his shots are going to fall I have no doubt about that.”
Trae Young’s summer league has mirrored his college basketball career, which is to say it’s been turbulent. While the sample size we’ve seen from him has provided his doubters with fuel, his career has hardly begun, he’s 19, and he’s on a terrible team. His fate is far from sealed. It’s too early to declare him a bust. Right now, he just has many bust-like qualities.