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Trae Young absolutely deserves to be an All-Star despite Hawks’ atrocious record

Trae Young, Hawks

Trae Young is the heart and soul of the Atlanta Hawks, but the Hawks are very bad right now, currently with the worst record in the NBA—does that make Young bad, too?

No, not really. The second-year point guard deserves to be an All-Star in 2020. At 21 years old, Young is already quite used to almost zero help from teammates, unfortunately. The former Sooner was the engine that fueled Oklahoma in his single collegiate season. Young went from must-watch TV phenom for college hoops to “he’s already a bust” in mere months because his own performance dropped off slightly. It goes without saying that Trae did not have much help in Norman, and that’s the case in the Peach State, too.

Young is a leader for a youth-oriented Hawks team with some pretty bad contributors at the moment. Rookies De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish play more than 25 minutes a game each and shoot 40.0% and 31.7% from the field, respectively. Promising big man John Collins missed 25 games with a anti-drug policy suspension from the league. Young’s only consistent contributor in a teammate is Jabari Parker, and the team as a whole is one of the worst defensive squads in the NBA right now, giving up a 113.2 defensive rating and 117.4 points per game to opponents.

As for himself, Trae Young has demonstrated some serious skill on the court, averaging 29.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 8.5 assists, and 1.1 steals per game, shooting 44.5% from the floor, 37.5% from 3-point range, and 85.3% from the free throw line. There really isn’t any other star or potential All-Star this season, if they could trade spots with Young, who could out-perform the sophomore floor general at the moment and improve the Hawks by themself.

Retired big man and one-time NBA champion Channing Frye dismissed this point on social media on Friday, saying the “worst” team in the league should not have an All-Star.

The problem here is that voters should not strip awards or recognition from good players just because they’re on bad teams. Basketball is fundamentally one of the most spirited sports that require teamwork. Young, for a fact, is making his team and teammates better when he steps on the court. For example, the point guard’s offensive rating is over four points better when he’s on the court than the Hawks’ overall offensive efficiency. (One metric has Atlanta as a +15.1 in offensive rating when Young is on the hardwood.)

Young should not be punished for playing very well on a terrible team. Especially in the NBA’s landscape where stars team up and causes groans from fans seeing parity shrink, we should be praising the better teams who happen to be stuck in (at the moment) not-great situations. Trae Young is an All-Star in 2020 in spite of the overall failure of the Hawks.