Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young fell back down to earth on Thursday, as his team suffered a 111-93 defeat at the hands of the Chicago Bulls. The incoming sophomore stud logged only 11 points, one three-pointer, four rebounds, four assists, and a steal in 17 minutes of action in what was easily his most forgettable performance in the preseason thus far.
This wasn’t exactly a terrible line from Young, but such has been his form in the preseason that this type of performance can be considered as mediocre at best.
Much has been made of Young’s potential breakout sophomore year, and if his preseason performances serve as any indication of what he’s going to be doing in the new season, then surely, we are all in for a show. So what does the 2019-20 campaign really hold for Young? Below, we present three last-second predictions for the young Hawks star.
For starters, we believe it would be safe to say that unlike many in the past who have not been as fortunate, Young will not fall victim to the curse of the sophomore slump. This has become quite prevalent in the league, with second-year players usually seeing a dip in their production following a memorable rookie campaign. For his part, though, this does not appear to be in the cards for Young.
The 6-foot-2 point guard averaged 30.9 minutes per contest as a rookie, and experts believe that he will be seeing a further uptick in his playing time this season. Atlanta do not have a natural point guard behind Young, with Evan Turner serving as the primary backup at the one spot. This means that Young will likely be provided with all the minutes he can handle this year, giving him ample opportunities to establish himself as one of the best young point guards in the league.
Dimes, dimes, dimes
Last year, Young dished out 8.1 assists per ballgame. This ranked as fourth overall in the entire league, behind only the likes of Russell Westbrook (10.7), Kyle Lowry (8.7), and Chris Paul (8.2). That’s some company Young is keeping up with, and the fact that these are simply some of the the elite point guards in the game just makes Young’s accomplishment even more impressive.
This coming season, we fully expect young to further increase his assists per game. Not only will he have the benefit of one full season under his belt, but also, the same can be said about the other players that form Atlanta’s youthful core. John Collins and Kevin Huerter will both also be a year older and wiser, which will likely boost Young’s assist numbers.
Moreover, the Hawks made a number of noteworthy additions in the summer, with highly-touted rookies De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish joining the squad via the draft. Former second overall pick Jabari Parker has also joined the fray, and with more offensive tools in the team this season, it would not be surprising if Young ends up averaging double-digit dimes this year.
Not Quite an All-Star just yet
When it is all said and done, though, we believe Young’s efforts will still not be enough to guarantee as spot in the All-Star team. Atlanta’s rising star might do enough to enter the conversation, but truth be told, we just don’t see this happening this season.
Simply put, there are just too many backcourt players in the East that are going to be better than Young. Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker are likely to secure the starting backcourt spots, with Victor Oladipo, Bradley Beal, and Kyle Lowry all also looking as good bets.
Young is just entering his second season in the league, and he still has so much basketball ahead of him. 2019-20 might not be his year, but surely, Young is going to be on many All-Star teams in the near future.