Today JJ Redick dropped the latest episode of his podcast titled The Old Man and the Three. Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young was the guest, and he did not disappoint. Despite recording it on Wednesday night, Redick's team was able to put out the complete episode in less than 48 hours. Below are ten highlights from the 50-minute interview.
Redick asked if Young realized he lived rent-free in New Yorkers' minds, to which Young replied, "Oh yeah." Young brought up the Denzel Washington video and said, "I mean, I'm a big fan of him, but then finds out he's a New Yorker."
Young continued to say that he enjoyed that raucous series against the Knicks in the first round of the 2021 Eastern Conference Playoffs. "It was loud. Like it was crazy. I give them a lot of credit. Like I've never been-- I give them a lot of credit. It was the craziest environment I've probably played in."
Redick was a victim of Young's nutmegs back in 2019, and the two laugh about the encounter. When asked about the origin of nutmegs, Young said, "I was doing that in middle school, high school. I always used that as a tool like when I'm on the sideline and can't necessarily go around you or anything."
Young continued, "It's really something I've done for a while. I did it in college a couple times too. I did it a couple times in the league, and everyone knows about the Trevor time, and him shoving me and all that. I don't do it too much because I know everyone in the league doesn't like that."
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When co-host Tommy Altar asked if there was any doubt about attending Oklahoma, Young replied, "Oh yeah. I was thinking about going to Kansas for real. Really a big reason why I didn't go there was because Devonte Graham stayed. Because they had Frank Mason and Devonte Graham, and he was going to be a senior, so that was a big reason."
Young said about deciding to play for Oklahoma, "I had a blessed situation. The style that Coach Krueger plays. Everybody knows how Buddy Hield was a couple years before I got there and him taking them to the Final Four. I knew my style of game was going to be able to fit with him. Even though they didn't make the tournament the year before I got there, I saw some of the pieces they had, and we was going to return everybody too. All they needed was a point guard and for me being able to step right in, in my home city, I think is a no-brainer and a great situation."
"I hate comparisons. My type of mentality, I don't like comparing people. I know it's part of everybody's nature, and that's what we're going to do as basketball fans and all that. But I don't like getting into it a lot, but I feel like we have similar types of games. If I was 6'8", I'd be just like Luka. Our games - pick and roll, able to find people, get the lob, the floaters, shooting shots, our games are very similar in a way."
Redick asked how Young's thoughts on the comparisons have evolved. Young replied, "Early on, I didn't know what it would be like. I didn't know how big the comparison would be. I didn't necessarily think it would be still to this day."
Young continued, "I'm at the point now; I just play. There's so much recency bias with everything. I went to the Eastern Conference Finals last year, and everyone was - 'Trae's better than Luka' you know what I'm saying? 'They won the trade.' Then they go this year, and it's different. We go to the finals next year, and what are they going to say? That's my mentality. I know winning is going to take care of everything."
2018 NBA Draft
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When asked about his draft night experience, Young said, "I didn't know until the third pick. Right when Luka got picked, I was told he wasn't going there, and I was going there. Dallas was going to trade. So right when Jaren got picked, I already knew."
Young continued, "So when I got called, I was tripping. To be honest, I thought I was going to Orlando at six. They needed a point guard, so I had no idea I was going to go."
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Of course, Redick, a former 76er, had to ask about the infamous Ben Simmons play where the 6'11" guard passed the ball after seeing 6'1" Young guarding him in the post during Game 7 of the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Young took an empathetic approach. "I think he kind of knew I was going to foul, and that's why he passed it up."
Young continued, "You know, in these moments, when you spin, it's a quick moment. He may not know it was me. He sees a blue jersey right behind me, which he can just drop off and maybe get a layup. I mean, it's a bang-bang play, and it sucks for him. I understand that's a tough play because he's a good player. I hate how people talk about how bad of a player he is. That's what I'm saying about recency bias because I think he's a really good player."
Young credited Chris Paul for influencing his floater and communication with his big men. "I tell my teammates, be aggressive first. When I'm going, I'm looking to shoot the floater first. If I saw the big coming to contest, it's an easy floater just a little bit to the left or to the right, and my big is going to catch it."
Young and Redick agreed that defenses playing drop coverage make it easier for the floater/alley-oop. Young later said, "I've always needed that floater. So I've constantly worked on it." Additionally, Young pointed to Tony Parker, Steve Nash, Chauncey Billups, and Allen Iverson as players who influenced his offensive style.
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When asked how he can grow offensively, Young said, "I want to continue to get better at my efficiency every year. I've done that every year. That's one goal of mine every year, to continue to get better at my efficiency from all areas on the floor."
Young continued, "I want to add to my midrange. Work more on my midrange because that's another layer of the game that I feel like DeMar [DeRozan] is killing, and certain guys are killing, and it's working to their advantage. So working more in the midrange and not necessarily shooting long floaters. More midrange pull-ups like 'CP' and certain guys."
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When asked about defense, Young said, "There are just some things I wasn't blessed with. I wasn't blessed with height. I have a shorter wingspan than my body. That doesn't work to my advantage."
Young went into more depth saying, "I think for me, it's all about positioning. I think I'm learning, and I got to be better, and I'm still learning how to be in a better position early. So I'm not put in certain situations where I'm caught because I'm smaller. It's more about just learning reads. I got to be more into the film room before I play a team, knowing certain things going into next year."
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When asked what he learned from the playoff series against the Miami Heat, Young said, "For me, I don't look at all those other excuses that could happen. I feel like we went to that series, and I feel like had a chance to win. Looking back at it, what we could have done better was get out in transition more. That's a really good half-court defensive team."
Young continued, "But when you're not getting the ball off a rebound and they're getting it, and they're scoring, it's hard to get in transition. I think if we had gotten more stops and gotten in transition more, it would have helped us. Because they're a really good half-court defensive team, I think that slowed the game down. We're a high-pace offensive team, and that really messed us up."
Young added, "The Miami Heat play their defense the same way until you break it. So they're going to be at the boxes and the elbows and helping and being in the passing lanes until you knock it down."
Shoutout to JJ Redick and Tommy Altar for another incredible episode of The Old Man and the Three. They covered a lot more than what is in this article. Young talked about his shooting style, respect for Darius Garland, and thoughts on the modern media. You can listen to the podcast anywhere and watch the full video on The Old Man and the Three YouTube page.