Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young was one of the best rookies in the NBA last season, but not even the most optimistic fans could have predicted how the youngster would start the 2019-20 campaign.
Young went scorched earth right out of the gate of the Hawks’ season, going for 16 points and five assists in the first quarter against the Detroit Pistons. The 21-year-old didn’t stop there, finishing with 38 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in a 117-100 victory. He shot 11-of-21 overall and 6-of-10 from 3-land.
Young wasn’t just making 3-pointers, but he was drilling them from the logo as part of his highlight-reel opening performance:
Young followed up this dynamite showing with a similarly dominant performance against the Orlando Magic on Saturday night. He poured in 39 more points to go along with nine assists and seven rebounds. The point guard was even more efficient overall in this one, making 16 of his 25 shot attempts and hitting five triples:
The @ATLHawks Trae Young is the first player in NBA history to record at least 35 points and five 3-pointers made in each of his first two games of a season.
— Justin Kubatko (@jkubatko) October 27, 2019
Most importantly, the Hawks won 103-99 to move to 2-0 on the season. Young scored Atlanta’s final eight points of the game to secure the victory:
The Hawks entered this season with dreams of making a big leap up the standings and into the playoff conversation. While making snap judgments based on two games is silly, Atlanta may just be able to do that if Young continues playing at an elite level.
Young obviously isn’t going to stay this hot, but we saw the signs of him being an All-Star-caliber player as his rookie season went along. He’s a threat to pull from anywhere on the court and is one of the best passers in the entire league. This combination makes him a pick-and-roll maestro who’s very difficult to guard.
The diminutive Young had his issues finishing at the rim as a rookie, but he’s 13-of-20 in the paint to start this season. Again, those numbers won’t hold over the course of a long season, but it’s a good sign that he’ll be more effective amongst the trees moving forward.
The Hawks are certainly thrilled to see Young playing like a superstar after passing on Luka Doncic in the 2018 draft. Atlanta infamously traded the No. 3 pick (Doncic) to the Dallas Mavericks for the No. 5 pick (Young) and a future first-round pick (Cam Reddish).
While Doncic won Rookie of the Year and is off to an outstanding start himself this season, Hawks owner Tony Ressler insists the franchise would make the trade again, per Chris Kirchner of The Athletic:
“I have to be honest, but I didn’t think Luka would be this good,” Ressler said prior to Saturday’s game. “I didn’t think Trae was going to be this good. They are both better than I expected. I think they’re both really special players and have a shot to be for a really long time if they stay focused. I think this trade is going to have a nice, long history of discussion. I wouldn’t completely, again, declare success or whether we won it or lost it today because I do think both teams have someone they can really help build around for years and years to come.”
Trae Young is indeed very special, and we should expect monster performances on the regular. He’s turning into a must-watch attraction and a potential All-Star this season.