What are Trae Young's strengths and weaknesses as he enters the NBA? 

By Heather Boehm
June 21, 2018

The Mavericks selected point guard Trae Young with the No. 5 pick in the 2018 NBA draft, but they will reportedly trade his rights to the Hawks in exchange for Luka Doncic. 

The Mavericks will also give up a future first-round pick. 

Young averaged 27.4 points and 8.8 assists per game as a freshman at Oklahoma. He shot 36.1% from three-point range. 

SI.com's Jeremy Woo broke down Young as a prospect ahead of the draft: 

Trae Young took the college basketball world by storm with a red-hot start to his freshman year, putting himself almost immediately onto the draft radar. He originally planned to play multiple seasons at Oklahoma, his hometown school, but it quickly became clear that the quality of his play had moved him into the one-and-done conversation.

Young's ability to shoot from deep range and make plays using ball screens naturally garnered lofty-if-unfair comparisons to Stephen Curry. Young’s skill level and feel help compensate for a lack of overpowering physical ability.

Check out Jeremy Woo's analysis of the pick, plus his take on Young's strengths and weaknesses, below. 

The Mavericks are making this pick for the Hawks after trading down from No. 3. There was a case to be made for Atlanta going with Luka Doncic going forward, but ultimately they placed greater value on adding a future asset and landing Young, a player they have come to value heavily throughout the process, as I understand it. They view Young as the player that can lead their rebuild, and now have the advantage of being able to build around him each step of the way. The next step for the Hawks will be moving Dennis Schroder, who is unsettled, but locked into a burdensome contract that has made him difficult to deal. Atlanta may come to regret not drafting Doncic or Jackson, but you have to respect the guts it takes to roll with Young, who was the most exciting player in college basketball last season. Grade: B+

 

Strengths

• Unique ability to generate offense off the dribble. Comfortable pulling up on a beat from NBA range. Can break down opponents in space and get into the paint.

• Adept at using ball screens. Slithery getting downhill around a pick. Able to make the right read and find open teammates.

• Skill-based finisher who uses floaters and creates angles for himself around the basket despite a lack of vertical explosiveness.

• Led the country in usage rate (38.5%), shouldering a remarkable workload, particularly for a true freshman. Wore down a bit as the season went on, but his sustained run of success as the fulcrum of Oklahoma’s offense was notable.

Weaknesses

• Shot selection could be reined in. Falls back on launching threes when other things aren’t working. Still more shoot-first than pass-first.

• Lacks ideal physical tools. Thin frame is still filling out, but doesn’t have a size advantage, placing onus on his skill and craft to be able to split the difference at a high level.

• Below-average defensively. Had to be hidden at times. Can become a passable team defender but doesn’t pop on that end and can be exposed from an athletic standpoint.

• What parts of his success will directly translate? Which types of shots can he get away with?

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