Former Oklahoma Sooners and Norman North High School phenom Trae Young doesn’t necessarily have the look of a prototypical lottery pick, but that’s exactly what he is after being selected No. 5 overall in the 2018 NBA Draft. Atlanta technically selected Luka Doncic at No. 3, but the Hawks and Mavericks have traded picks 3 and 5, with ATL acquiring Young and a future pick in the process. No current NBA players appear to be involved in the deal.
Atlanta and Dallas have agreed to a deal, league sources tell ESPN. They'll trade Nos. 3 and 5 picks, sending Luka Doncic to Dallas and Trae Young to Atlanta, sources said. Dallas will send Atlanta a future first.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 21, 2018
Young joins fellow OU athletes Baker Mayfield (No. 1 in NFL Draft), Kyler Murray (No. 9 in MLB Draft), Paige Lowary (No. 1 in National Pro Fastpitch League Draft) and Paige Parker (No. 6 in NPFL Draft) as top-10 selections in their respective sports in 2018. Oklahoma is only the fifth school since 1970 (first since 2006) to have a student-athlete selected in the top-10 of the NFL, MLB and NBA Draft in the same year.
Young, who led the nation in scoring assists, and turnovers, is adept enough in certain areas to be worth the risk to an NBA franchise in need of a point guard, and he appears to be a pretty decent fit in Atlanta for head coach Lloyd Pierce — even if the roster looks rough at the moment.
Rumors have floated around about a possible trade that would send current point guard Dennis Schroder to another team. Veterans Kent Bazemore and Miles Plumlee are still on the roster, as is young upstart SF Taurean Prince. Other than that, the cupboard is currently pretty bare, and the franchise will definitely be building around Young for the future.
Trae Young about Hawks: "I knew they were very interested. I had a really good workout when I went out to Atlanta ..."— Eric Bailey (@EricBaileyTW) June 22, 2018
"I can't wait to get out there and meet the fans and get ready to spend some time with my new teammates."
The five-star point guard out of Norman North quickly became a hometown hero after he chose the Oklahoma Sooners over some of college basketball’s heavy hitters like Kansas, Kentucky and Duke. When the season rolled around, Young and the Sooners hit the ground running, racing out to a 14-2 record on the season and rising as high as No. 4 in the AP Poll. By then, Trae Young was a household name, especially after he tied the NCAA record for the most assists in a game with 22 helpers against Northwestern State.
Dropping dimes at a record clip like Young did was no doubt a major talking point, but what really put the spotlight on Young was his scoring output. On the season, Young averaged 27.4 points per game, including nine games over 30 and four games over 40. Sure, Young’s ability to put the ball in the basket is scintillating, but he took it a step further (or more like a few steps further) by draining three pointers from Oklahoma City. Many of the shots he took were absurdly deep, and many times (particularly in the early going) those shots ended in a nylon splash.
Steph Curry sort of paved the way for players of Young’s mold to be considered elite point-guard prospects at the next level. However, Curry was far from a finished product when he entered the NBA, and Young will have to make similar strides with his body (even though he has already added a good amount of body mass since the end of the season) and his defense. He could end up having a great career in the Association, but he’s going to need a few years to develop in those two areas in particular.
A guy of his size who lacks pure athleticism will probably never be an elite defender in the NBA, but there are strides he can make that will allow him to avoid being a liability on that end. Smaller point guards have to approach things a bit differently, and he could end up being pretty pesky if he can learn a few tricks of the trade. Additionally, his shot selection is something that often leaves a bit to be desired. When the offense begins to stagnate, he can get into the habit of taking a few too many of those deep three-point attempts, which often translates to a wasted offensive possession. There were times in which he was the only viable offensive weapon on the court at Oklahoma and often felt like he had to go for the home run, so hopefully he’ll be surrounded by some decent pieces who can help him move past that tendency.
An up-tempo team that likes to get out and run would probably suit him, and there’s reason to believe Atlanta will adapt accordingly. That’s not to say, however, that he isn’t capable of thriving in the half-court game, but his skill set is clearly suited for a team that will allow him to put open-court passing prowess on full display.