Some say after the All-Star break, certain players get into another gear to finish out this stretch of the season. Trae Young has seemed to get that memo over the last couple of games for the Hawks. Young went into the break playing well in the months of January and February, but has really been playing at a higher level since returning. He’s already in company with elite point guards in the league, and many are starting to take notice. After a sluggish start to the season, his points and assists per game, and field goal percentage have steadily improved, and he has made the Atlanta Hawks competitive on a nightly basis.
In the first 3 games after the break, Young averaged 30 points. He scored 30 points against the Pistons and went 11 of 23 from the field. With Hawks battling down to the wire, Young came alive and hit some timely buckets to keep the hawks in the game, but they lost momentum down the stretch. Against the Suns he had 23 points but shot 5/14 from the field. Young did get 12 attempts at the free throw line, finding a different way to impact the game.
Showing out in H-Town
In probably one of the most impressive games of the stretch, Young went off against the Rockets. He scored a career high 36 points going 12-23 from the field. What was more encouraging from the game was his 8-10 shooting from behind the arc. These weren’t just regular threes, but shots from the logo. His playmaking was also spectacular coming out of the pick and roll, due to all the attention on his shooting. It was a great night for Young all around, and Rockets players Chris Paul and James Harden showed their respect after the game. That respect from his peers shows that he’s truly entering the upper tiers of the NBA.
New Career High
Right when it felt like Trae Young had shown his new level, he raised his level of play again in Atlanta last night. He became the first rookie with 45 points and 10 assists since Michael Jordan … and he had 49 and 16, along with 8 rebounds for good measure. He hit clutch bucket after clutch bucket to keep the game going, willing his team to a fourth overtime before falling to the Bulls. If the recognition from the greats didn’t convince you that this kid will be special, Friday night in Atlanta should.
Closing in on ROY
With the talk around Trae and Luka, the rookie of the year has never been more intriguing than now. Earlier in the season, Luka was the clear-cut favorite, but after this stretch of games, Young has forced his way back into the conversation. Both rookies have been playing great for their teams, putting their names in the history books in their young careers. If Young continues his hot streak, there will be tough decisions to make at seasons end.
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