Trae Young to Train with Kobe Bryant; Has Added 12-16 Pounds in Offseason

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2019

Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young (11) brings the ball up during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in Boston, Saturday, March 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young is about to learn the tenets of the Mamba Mentality.

Young will take part in USA Basketball's training camp, which starts Aug. 5, as a member of the Select Team. Once that's complete, according to The Athletic's Chris Kirschner, Young will head to California to train with Kobe Bryant with a focus on his mid-range jumper.

Per Kirschner, Young has also been working with trainer Alex Bazzell with noticeable results already:

"The two have spent almost a month together already and another two to three weeks already have been planned for in August. As with [trainer Irv Roland], Young's maturation is the noticeable change Bazzell has seen, plus Bazzell said Young has gained 12 to 16 pounds this offseason. Just based on the eye test, Young's muscle mass certainly has improved from where he was at the end of the season."

Mid-range shooting was a weakness for Young in his rookie year. According to NBA.com, he shot 31.6 percent between 16 and 24 feet, which was worse than his success rate from beyond the arc (32.4 percent).

The mid-range game has fallen out of vogue across the NBA as coaches focus on three-pointers and shots at the rim. However, improving on long twos should help Young open up his offensive game.

Young won't stop shooting three-pointers anytime soon. He averaged 10.3 three-point attempts per game in his only college season at Oklahoma, while his 482 shots from three in 2018-19 were the fourth-most all-time by a rookie.

Kirschner noted Bryant also worked with Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum prior to Tatum's second season, but the results don't bode well for Young. Tatum shot 42.4 percent between 16 and 24 feet as a rookie, per NBA.com, but saw that number fall to 34.9 percent in 2018-19.

Granted, Tatum fell short of expectations across the board—a theme for the Celtics as a whole.

Unlike the Celtics, the Hawks aren't looking to contend for a title in 2019-20, which will ease some of the pressure on Young. As he grows more accustomed to the speed of the NBA, Young could take a big step forward following an encouraging debut campaign.

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