Trae Young Drops 30 Points, 10 Assists as Hawks Fall to Blake Griffin, Pistons

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 23, 2019

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 22: Reggie Jackson #1 of the Detroit Pistons shoots the ball against the Atlanta Hawks on February 22, 2019 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Reggie Jackson had 32 points, eight assists and two steals as the Detroit Pistons beat the Atlanta Hawks 125-122 on Friday at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

Andre Drummond added 26 points, 21 boards and five steals for Detroit. Blake Griffin had 15 points and four rebounds but was ejected in the third quarter after getting his second technical.

Trae Young amassed 30 points and 10 assists for the 19-40 Hawks, who have lost five of their last six games. 

The 27-30 Pistons, on the other hand, have now won five of the last six.

     

This Is the Trae Young the Hawks Envisioned

If Young shot 0-for-20 on Friday, it wouldn't have mattered because of the sorcery pulled off below:

One might have to rewind the video a few times just to understand what Young did or where the ball went, but it's abundantly clear Young is quickly turning into the dominant scoring and passing force the Hawks envisioned when they traded for the ex-Oklahoma Sooner on draft night.

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk explained to the media why the team made the move in June.

"Obviously, we love his ability to pass the ball, to make other players better with his court vision," Schlenk said. "Obviously he gets a lot of notoriety for his long-range shooting, but I think his ability to pass the ball is what we really liked about it.

"It was the court vision and his passing, I think, is what really stands out about him. Obviously his ability to shoot the ball, in today's NBA, is very important. What really separates him with the shooting is his ability to shoot is off the dribble. You don't see that in a lot of guys, and he possesses that."

Both traits were on display Friday.

Young found Dedmon twice for nifty passes: one in the aforementioned play, and one here between a narrow lane created by two Pistons defenders. The small opening didn't matter as Dedmon finished for the easy two:

Chris Kirschner of The Athletic wrote about Young's passing prowess in a Feb. 13 article, and his teammates and head coach raved about his abilities there.

"It’s like how LeBron’s greatness gets taken for granted because he does it every year or like how people undermine what James Harden is doing this year because he’s doing it every game," Hawks rookie big man Omari Spellman told Kirschner.

"These people make it look so easy, and it’s hard for me to be wowed by it now because he does it all of the time. I knew he was going to get it to me somehow some way. You always have to be prepared with him."

Head coach Lloyd Pierce also called Young's passing his greatest asset.

The 20-year-old has 9.4 assists per game in his last 13 games, but Young can obviously score from long range too, which he's been doing quite well of late. He's made 40.6 percent of his three-pointers in his last 12 games.

Against the Pistons, Young stayed hot, hitting five of 11 from long range, including this dagger from deep:

But his ability to shoot off the dribble, which Schlenk mentioned pre-draft, came to life in the fourth quarter as the Hawks were mounting a comeback:

And this and-one layup after a strong drive into the lane put the Hawks up:

Atlanta didn't win, as the Pistons mounted their own comeback capped by Thon Maker's game-winning three-pointer with 17.1 seconds remaining. The Hawks are all but certain to miss out on this year's playoffs.

But they'll be making numerous stops there soon thanks to an excellent core of young talent, with Young as its leader. He's already inserting himself on lists with great company, per ESPN Stats & Info:

Young's getting better quickly, which is bad news for the rest of the NBA. As Dedmon told Kirschner, "[Young's] going to be a really tough player to guard for years to come in this league."

               

What's Next?

Both teams play Saturday. The Hawks will host the Phoenix Suns, and the Pistons will travel to face the Miami Heat.

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