Hawks guard Trae Young is off to a rough start in NBA Summer League

Trae Young Hawks

Trae Young hasn’t found his rhythm through two games at the Summer League in Utah. (Credit: Rick Bowmer/AP Photo)

Trae Young cruised through his college career (for the most part).

He played well enough, especially early on, to reach a status that only guys like Steph Curry, Jimmer Fredette, Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis have ascended to in recent years. He captured the nation’s imagination– in addition to leading it in both points and assists (something no one had ever done before).

Sure, he and his team fell apart down the stretch, sputtering to the finish line like the Boomer Sooner wagon had hit a buffalo.

Still, after averaging 27.4 points and 8.7 assists per game, shooting almost 50 percent from the field and 42 percent from three, there’s no doubt–it was a special season. The Atlanta Hawks were impressed enough to peg him as their future franchise savior–and to pass up Jaren Jackson Jr., Luka Doncic, Mohamed Bamba and others with the No. 3 pick in the draft.

We’re only two games in to the first NBA Summer League in Utah, and it’s not time to panic or anything, but–Trae Young is having a much tougher time than he did at Oklahoma.

The diminutive guard has shot 9-for-36 in his first two games (25% FG). He’s put up a total of 28 points (12, 16), has six total assists and has a plus-minus rating of -36.

The rough start is almost a continuation of his late-season slump at OU, when he had performances like 7-for-21 against Iowa State, 4-for-16 against Texas Tech, 3-for-13 against Kansas, and 5-for-19 in another game against Iowa State.

The late-season struggles suggest that with more tape on him to scout, Big 12 defenses figured out how to frustrate Young, who was at near-mythical levels during the early part of the season.

His Summer League woes might be a reflection on his size (despite being listed at 6-2, he’s more like 5-11), the elevation in competition, and the need to find a rhythm and find his place within the Hawks system. His shot selection hasn’t been great, but they’re the same shots that launched him into superstardom at Oklahoma. He just hasn’t been knocking them down.

It’s only two games, and it’s only Summer League, but Young’s struggles aren’t surprising given what happened to him at the end of last year.

He’s shown some flashes of brilliance, including in spectacular, how-did-he-do-that finishes over bigger people around the rim. But until (and unless) he starts knocking down some J’s like he did back in his college days, Trae Young risks ending up more like Jimmer Fredette and less like Steph Curry.


Also see: 

Did the Kings make a mistake by drafting Marvin Bagley III at No. 2?


John Wall shines in Summer League debut

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