The modern variation of basketball has, at its heart, been about one giant shift: Three-pointers. More threes, contested threes, spot-up threes, threes off the bounce, threes from ever further away from the basket, threes taken by seven-footers, did I mention more threes? Nobody has personified that change more than Stephen Curry the past four to five seasons. It was only a matter of time until this “revolution” found its expression in up-and-coming players at the prep and college levels, and in Trae Young we find one of the first Steph Curry-lites in the NBA Draft.
Young, aged 19, is coming off an up and down (in terms of wins and losses) freshman season at Oklahoma. His raw stats are certainly something to behold; per game averages tallied up to 27.4 points (on 42.2% overall, 36.0% from three, and 86.1% at the free-throw line), 8.7 assists, 3.9 rebounds, 5.2 turnovers, and 1.7 steals. He actually led the nation in scoring and assists, a point which belies just how much he's capable of doing with the ball in his hands.
If those values don’t make it explicit enough, Trae was the guy for Oklahoma last season. I mean, how else are you going to explain 19.3 shot attempts a night with a 37.1% usage rate? He’s never met an off-balance thirty foot jumper he didn’t like. The key will be whether he can take and make the right kind of shot once he gets to the NBA.
Given that highlight reel you'll be not at all shocked to find out that 53.1% of his shot attempts last year were threes. If a team is looking for a guard with bottomless confidence in his scoring ability they'll find no one better than Young.
Concerns on Trae's ability to play in the NBA revolve around his physical measurements and the tendency to switch off on defense that many high-usage offensive players are known for (fairly or otherwise). At 6’1.75” with a 6’3” wingspan, he's average to a bit small for his position, and his speed and agility, while okay, won't blow the doors off NBA defenders. Some of those concerns could be mitigated if he continues to build a crafty tool-set of moves for getting himself open and scoring in traffic around the basket, though whether he ever moves past being a mediocre defender is an open question. Oh, and he has a tendency to take ill-advised shots. Like, a TON of potentially ill-advised shots, so there's that.
If the order of the draft remains as is, Young would be heading to the Chicago Bulls. Given Chicago's insistence that Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine are their backcourt of the future, perhaps they'd be willing to swap with a team like the New York Knicks who may find more appeal in a score-first guard with plenty of swagger. Trae Young will have big expectations to live up to no matter where he ends up.
Now we're getting into the meat of things at pick number eight. Who will be lucky enough to potentially start the rebuild or get sacrificed at the Altar of Keeping LeBron James for the Cleveland Cavaliers? Maybe its Wendell Carter Jr. or any number of the available Bridges! Only you, dear readers, can decide.
Brew Hoop Community Draft Board Rankings
1. Deandre Ayton - C, Arizona (The Stepien Profile)
2. Luka Doncic - PG, Real Madrid (The Stepien Profile)
3. Marvin Bagley III - C, Duke (The Stepien Profile)
4. Jaren Jackson Jr. - PF/C, Michigan State (The Stepien Profile)
5. Mohamed Bamba - PF/C Texas (The Stepien Profile)
6. Michael Porter Jr. - PF, Mizzou (The Stepien Profile)
7. Trae Young - PG, Oklahoma (The Stepien Profile)
My Pick for the #8 spot on the Brew Hoop Community draft board is:
This poll is closed
Wendell Carter Jr.
Lonnie Walker IV
Other (put in the comments)