The Atlanta Hawks have traded for Trae Young in the 2018 NBA draft. The selection originally belonged to the Dallas Mavericks with the No. 5 overall pick.
As college basketball's leader in scoring and assists, Young generated more excitement and debate than any prospect in the country. He'll now bring his flashy ball skills and playmaking to the NBA, where he'll look to emerge as the next star point guard.
Size: 6'1 ¾"
Weight: 177.8 pounds
Reach: 7'11 ½"
Pro-player comparison: Damon Stoudamire
With tight handles, mean hesitations, roaming vision and passing instincts, Young averaged 8.7 assists despite weak support at Oklahoma. His most valued attribute is shot-creating for teammates. Shifty off the dribble, Young can be tough to stay in front of. He picked defenses apart and buried them in pick-and-rolls when he wound up single-covered, generating 1.082 points per possession in those situations. Young also scored 160 points out of isolation, averaging 1.019 PPP, ranking in the 85 percentile. He got to the free-throw line 8.7 times per game, but he made the most noise around the perimeter, where he sunk 118 threes. He ranked in the 88th percentile in dribble jumpers and the 96th percentile on catch-and-shoot jumpers.
Young lacks size, strength, length and explosiveness, and it shows when he's trying to finish at the rim. He shot 49.6 percent around the basket. He also has leaned on deep pull-ups from several feet behind the arc, and except for his floater, which he made 22 times, Young has no mid-range game. He hit just four jump shots all season that weren't threes. He also led the country in turnovers with a tendency to be nonchalant with his execution. And his shot selection was often wild. Young will take quick shots from deep early in the clock instead of probing or patiently looking for better opportunities.
Young's defensive outlook isn't promising, mostly because of his physical tools. He's easy to screen or bully. He also exerts so much energy on offense that he runs out of gas when trying to contain his man defensively. His effort has been questioned when fighting through picks. Young has enough quickness to be adequate, but that's his defensive ceiling.
Young's efficiency will suffer moving from college to the pros, but he should still be a productive rookie, particularly as a passer. He's a lock to lead his class in assists. Young's playmaking should carry over right away, but his volume scoring may take time. He'll still make shots, get hot and score in bunches, but Young is bound to have cold-shooting games as he adjusts to a new role and tougher on-ball defenders.
Projected role: Quality starter
Young isn't Stephen Curry, but he's dealing with the same questions about his body and athleticism that forced six teams to pass on Curry in the 2009 draft. However, Young's measurements nearly match Chris Paul's, which suggests he can still succeed at the highest level despite lacking John Wall's length or Russell Westbrook's burst. Young has the potential to make an All-Star team at some point, just like Isaiah Thomas did for his ability to generate offense. The safer projection has Young being more of a quality starter for most of his career.