What Needs to Happen for Trae Young to Be an All-Star
Four lengthy seasons have come and gone since the Atlanta Hawks have had a point guard that was selected to play in the All-Star game. Jeff Teague earned such honors in the 2014-15 season. To find the guard before that, you’d have to go back to 1994 when Mookie Blaylock was selected to play in the event.
Needless to say, the Atlanta Hawks have not had an enormous level of continuity at the point guard position over the years. In fact, the last point guard to make consecutive All-Star appearances for the city of Atlanta would be “Pistol” Pete Maravich in the early 70’s. The Hawks have been longing for consistency at the position for a long, long time, and in his second year in the league, Trae Young might be able to afford that for the franchise.
Many onlookers spoke too soon after the decision to draft Trae Young fifth overall after trading their third overall pick to Dallas. He was deemed a bust early on due to his subpar performances in October and November; the latter in which he shot a very uninspiring 19.8 percent from long range. However, as the season progressed, Trae proved to be an incredible passer and playmaker.
The runner-up for Rookie of the Year concluded the final three months of the season scoring over 20 points per game and accumulating more than 9 assists per game. These improvements are a moderate projection on what’s to come in the 2019-20 season for the youngster. If Trae can play well for the entirety of next season, he may very well put himself in position to be an All-Star caliber player. There are just a few things he must do well in order to earn such an accolade.
1. Keep up statistically with other all-star point guards. In order to be selected to his first All-Star game, Trae must be able to put up numbers that rival his Eastern Conference counterparts. Players such as Kemba Walker, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, and Kyle Lowry are all solid guards that have been consistent in earning All-Star accolades, for the most part. Post All-Star break, Trae hovered around 23 ppg and if he can keep that up, this would put him near the top of this list of players. In assists, for the year Trae averaged more than all of the aforementioned players not named Kyle Lowry, and by a considerably large margin.
2. Must play well for an entire year. This should go without saying, but Trae had major struggles early last season. The fact that he failed to figure the game out as quickly as fellow rookie Luka Doncic may have cost him the Rookie of the Year award. With the 23/9 numbers that Trae put up in February and beyond, he surely would have made the race much closer than it was. Walker, Irving, and Lowry are all seasoned veterans who have been consistent their entire careers in the regular season. If the young Hawk starts off as shaky as last year, it may be difficult to play catch-up moving forward.
3. Ideally, the Atlanta Hawks need to improve their win total. 29 wins is not enough. In the 2019-20 season, only four players (Towns, Beal, Davis, Kemba) were selected to play in the All-Star game and were on losing teams. (Not counting honorary members Dirk and Wade.) Oftentimes, players on losing teams are overlooked (ahem, Devin Booker) and Trae Young will be no different if he cannot translate his playmaking into quality wins. This will be especially difficult for Trae and he will already be at a disadvantage when you consider that the other four guards mentioned earlier are all on playoff teams.
Moving forward, the Atlanta Hawks are excited about their young core of exciting players. Individual awards are never the focus of the season, but if Trae Young can help his team win basketball games, he can absolutely set himself up for individual success in the process. Hopefully, the Hawks will finally have a consistent All-Star point guard for years to come.