Trae Young on poor shooting start to season: ‘I was really just thinking about it too much’

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Trae Young and Luka Doncic will always be linked thanks to the draft day trade that sent the two in opposing directions, one to the Atlanta Hawks and the other to the Dallas Mavericks.

Doncic is probably going to be the 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year, but Young has certainly made his case for the award. As the calendar has changed from 2018 to 2019, Young has evened out on the offensive side of the ball, culminating in a performance of 49 points, 16 assists, and eight rebounds against the Chicago Bulls on Mar. 1.

Neither the Mavericks or the Hawks are playoff-bound in their respective conferences, but it’s been fun to see both play well. Young needed to figure out a way to close the gap between his draft mate, particularly as he failed to shoot well coming into the season. The Hawks PG shot just 20% from the 3-point line in November, but has recovered and is now shooting 41.5 percent for the season.

To that end, Young recently told Marc Stein of the New York Times that he just needed time to adjust to the NBA, and that now he’s seeing things much slower.

Via NYT:

Young’s statistical eruption against the Bulls capped a five-game stretch in which he became just the fourth rookie since the N.B.A./A.B.A. merger in 1976-77 to post three consecutive 35-point games.

The others: Bernard King, Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson.

“That first month of the year was difficult for me,” Young said. “There’s definitely an adjustment period for any college shooter. And I think that’s what I was going through early on in the season. I was shooting terrible. I was really just thinking about it too much.”

And now?

“The game,” Young said, “is really starting to slow down for me.”

Doncic really stole our hearts at the beginning of the season and it’s hard to see Young making a narrative push for the Rookie of the Year, especially as Atlanta is slated to win fewer than 30 games this season.

But Young has come on strong, and he really does show exceptional vision on a level that means he’s going to be able to stick in this league and become an impact player for the Hawks for years to come. The trade was largely panned when Atlanta made the deal, but in less than one season it seems like the gap between the two players has already shortened significantly.