Trae Young is underrated despite being a two-time NBA All-Star (2020, 2022). Last season, Young averaged 26.2 points, 10.2 assists, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.1 steals on 43/34/89 shooting splits.
However, in 2022, Young had his most impressive season, resulting in an All-NBA Third Team appearance. In 2022, the former Oklahoma Sooner guard averaged 28.4 points with an efficiency of 46 percent from the field, 38 percent from three, and 90 percent from the free throw line, all of which were career highs.
Disclaimer – Trae Young just recently turned 25 on September 19th. However, he was still 24 at the beginning of the writing of these rankings.
Top 25 NBA Players Under 25: No. 5 – Trae Young
He’s one of the league’s elite shooters who can create for himself off the dribble and spot up in off-ball situations. Young’s floor spacing is invaluable and gives the Hawks another dimension that makes them one of the league’s best offenses. In the 2022-23 season, Atlanta finished with an average of 118.2 points per game. They were second behind only the Sacramento Kings.
Young is the head of the snake in Atlanta, so it’s no surprise that their team strength of offense and scoring is also his.
Another offensive aspect of Young’s game that he’s among the league’s best at is his ability to create for others. Last season, Young finished second in assists per game behind only James Harden, who had 10.7. Young’s assists totals have yet to dip, although the Hawks added another guard, Dejounte Murray, last offseason from the San Antonio Spurs. His shooting makes defenses consistently close, and he’s excellent at attacking the closeouts and either finishing with a floater or finding the open man if the next level of defenders decides to help.
Young is known for his shooting. His playmaking goes under the radar despite consistently being atop the league.
Now entering his sixth season, Young is ready to make his third All-Star appearance. However, there are still aspects of Young’s game that he can still improve to help the Hawks make a deeper playoff push. According to FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR ratings, last season, Young finished with a positive offensive rating of 4.9 but a negative defensive rating of 0.9.
These numbers will likely be similar for the rest of his career, which the Hawks knew when selecting him as No. 5 overall in the 2018 NBA Draft. Young has always been an elite shooter, ballhandler, and playmaker. However, his limitations are on the defensive end.
At 6-foot-1 and 164 pounds, Young doesn’t have the frame to make him an elite defender. He’s a liability that teams frequently exploit in mismatches through pick-and-roll switches.
That said, Atlanta has done an excellent job constructing their roster to compensate for Young’s weaknesses. They have two-way players, including Murray, Clint Capela, and others.
Young comes in tied for 48th with a 2.5 assist-to-turnover ratio. He had 4.1 turnovers last season, which is also his career average. To be fair, Young is one of the highest-usage players in the entire league. He was 11th in touches per game at 80.3. Nonetheless, he needs to improve his, at times, reckless passing.
The turnovers give opponents too many easy transition opportunities. It doesn’t give the Hawks’ defense time to get set up. It also doesn’t give them as many offensive opportunities to maximize their shot attempts. Young cleaning up his turnovers and having more cautious decision-making could allow Atlanta to play more mistake-free basketball, which is needed against the juggernaut teams in the East.