Complainer. Flopper. Foul merchant. You have heard all the ridiculous takes lobbed at Trae Young. Not only do I believe Young has heard them as well, but he's also probably using it as fuel for the red hot season he's enjoying.
The Hawks point guard is averaging 26.3 points and 9.4 assists per game. No other NBA player ranks in the top five of both categories. If you dig deeper, you will find that Young is leading the NBA in total points (657), with the second-closest player being Zach LaVine (647), and third place belongs to Steph Curry (637).
Not bad for a 23-year-old. Especially a player who draws acute criticism for his style of play. So much so that the NBA nerfed his ability to get to the foul line. Last year, Young averaged 8.7 free throws per game. This year, Young is averaging 6 free throw attempts per game.
Anybody who puts their phone down long enough to watch a few possessions of Hawks basketball will notice that Young has obviously leveled up. Not only are his points up, but so are his shooting percentages. His assists remain near the top of the league (second in total assists), and his turnovers are slightly down.
It's no secret that critics have been praying on Young's downfall for most of his professional career. That's fine. Casual fans tend to hate on transcendent players during their career, only to later purchase their retro jersey on Mitchell & Ness.
What is frustrating is seeing media members regurgitate the same bogus talking points that circulate on social media, especially when some of those same people have a say in who wins prestigious league awards.
Young's critics will continue to use silly talking points and cherry-picked stats throughout the season. However, I fully expect the prodigy point guard to maintain his MVP-level play this season. "Another Day, Another Opportunity."