Trae Young – Oklahoma
CPP Big Board Ranking: #8 Overall (#2 PG)
Weight: 178 lbs
Age/Birthday: 19 (9/19/98)
Hometown: Norman, OK
High School: Norman North High School
(Ryan Larsen – 3/2/18)
Trae Young has easily been the flashiest point guard in all of college basketball this season. He has unlimited range and has drawn comparisons to Stephen Curry since his high school highlight tapes were hitting YouTube. However, as the competition got tougher, Young’s flare and flashiness seemed to cost his team wins in certain situations. During Big 12 play, in which the Sooners finished in the bottom half of the conference standings, Young was often flustered by athletic teams like Kansas and West Virginia. If Young is going to flourish and become a perennial all-star like Curry, he will need to show a higher basketball IQ in games that he does not perform well offensively. Fortunately, Young is an elite passer and has consistently shown that he can run an offense successfully and at a high level. The most interesting part about Young’s draft resume is that he still has the potential to get much better.
Strengths: Trae Young’s most obvious strength is his seemingly unlimited range. He is a “once-in-a-generation” type shooter that can virtually create and make a shot from anywhere past half-court. On many occasions this season, Young has pulled up from the logo at midcourt and made shots. Not only is Young an incredible shooter, but he has great escapability and can maneuver through traffic to find a shot. This makes him a deadly all-around scorer because he can either pull up for a shot at any second or use his elusiveness to get into the lane for a layup. Young has also drawn very high praise for his passing abilities. Not only can Young score himself, but he also finds ways to get his teammates open shots and easy layups. Trae Young has a knack for weaving a pass through traffic into the hands of a waiting forward for an easy dunk. If Young is drafted to a team with good big men, he could easily reciprocate the massive assist numbers he had in college in the NBA (9.1 APG).
Weaknesses: Young’s range is undeniably incredible. However, his 3-point shooting percentage is not actually that great for a player who gets so much attention for shooting (37.5%). He also averages nearly twenty shot attempts per game and has been consistently belittled for his tendency to “shoot” his team out of games. As much fun as it is to watch Young score from half-court with ease, his team can suffer from it sometimes. In a midseason loss to Oklahoma State, Young took 39 shots and was questioned for his decision making after the game. For Young to be successful in the NBA, he will need to find ways to benefit the team even on nights when his range isn’t as strong.
Player Outlook & NBA Comparison: Stephen Curry
Now it would be absolutely crazy to think that Trae Young will immediately become one of the best players in the NBA but it’s also possible. In an age of shooters in the NBA, Young perhaps possesses the best utility of all, his range. Another player who currently dominates the NBA is Steph Curry, who, as everyone knows, is well-known for his unlimited shooting range during games. Both Curry and Young can seemingly fire up a shot from anywhere on the court and get it to fall in.
I don’t expect Young will immediately become the same type of player Steph Curry is now. It even took Curry a few years to really find a groove professionally. Young will definitely be a high lottery draft pick and could very well be the first guard to be taken in June.
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