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Trae Young’s All-Star Trifecta Is a Win for Hawks Fans

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) competes in the Starry 3-Point Contest during NBA All Star Saturday Night at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Atlanta Hawks fans have had their feathers ruffled for over a month.

The face of the franchise, Trae Young, continues to be disrespected, needing to be named as an injury replacement to receive an honor many believe he deserved more than most. Even worse, Young’s name has been in constant trade rumors. In addition, the Hawks lost back-to-back games heading into the All-Star Break and four of their last six.

Trae Young’s All-Star Trifecta Is a Win for Hawks Fans

Suffice it to say that the Hawks needed some good news.

Events that generate positive emotions may be undervalued in a long and trying season. However, professional basketball is just like any other profession in that people want to feel good at the end of the day. To feel good about themselves and for their fans to feel good about them.

In Indianapolis at All-Star Weekend, that’s exactly what happened for Young. A three-time All-Star participating in three events, one for a third time, he and Hawks fans needed positive mojo as much as anybody. They received it in droves as Young, all smiles, made his way through a gauntlet of All-Star events.

Skills Challenge

In the Skills Challenge, Young competed alongside Tyrese Maxey and Scottie Barnes for Team All-Stars. Team All-Stars were bookended on one side by Team Pacers, comprised of Indiana Pacers players Tyrese Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin, and Myles Turner. On the other end, a trio of No. 1 picks in Victor Wembanyama, Paolo Banchero, and Anthony Edwards formed Team Top Picks.

An obstacle course that tests players’ passing precision, ball-handling ability, and shooting touch, the Skills Challenge is the perfect event for perimeter players and playmakers. Unfortunately for Young and his teammates, they came up short.

Indiana’s squad won the three-man relay and passing round, each worth 100 challenge points. Meanwhile, Team Top Picks was eliminated after the first round after a couple of errant three-point attempts by Edwards. Team All-Stars unsurprisingly dominated in the shooting challenge, worth 200 points.

After forcing a tiebreaker round, Young’s team would get hung up on the halfcourt shot. Haliburton did not, winning the competition for Team Pacers.

3-Point Contest

The 3-Point Contest boded a bit better for Young, a three-time participant in the competition.

Facing off against Haliburton, Damian Lillard, Jalen Brunson, Donovan Mitchell, Malik Beasley, Karl-Anthony Towns and Lauri Markkanen, Young was the first shooter of the night. The Hawks’ all-time leader in threes, he didn’t disappoint, scoring 26 points in thrilling fashion. However, Lillard, Towns, and Haliburton all scored 26 as well, forcing a 30-second tiebreaker.

Young placed second, getting his revenge against Haliburton for beating him in the Skills Challenge. Making every money ball during the tiebreaker, Young proceeded to the final round against Lillard and Towns.

Scoring 24 in the final round wasn’t enough, though, as Lillard hit his final shot to score 26 points. In doing so, he became the back-to-back three-point champion, the first since 2007 and 2008.

All-Star Game

Young didn’t enter the 2024 All-Star Game until the second quarter, playing the lowest minutes (14) among the Eastern Conference All-Stars. That may be a bit notable after coaches left him off the initial reserves list of All-Stars. Nonetheless, Young provided multiple highlights when he was on the court.

His most stellar moment may have been a nutmeg crossover with Kevin Durant guarding him. A move that left Durant frozen in time and opened up the lane for a floater, it was a fine display of talent and showmanship. Finding Giannis Antetokounmpo on a halfcourt lob less than two minutes later, Young shined alongside the league’s luminaries.

Finishing with five points and seven assists, Young may wish he had a couple of shots back as he went 1-4 from deep. However, he still represented himself and the Hawks franchise well. A three-time All-Star at 25 years old, NBA fans are all but guaranteed to see him there again soon.


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