Trae Young Doing Best To Carry Hawks, But Changes Needed

Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks, NBA Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The Atlanta Hawks have been shorthanded as of late due to no shortage of players being placed in the NBA health and safety protocol along with injuries. That should not have been an excuse with Trae Young available entering a matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers without Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum.

Despite Young dropping a staggering 56-point, 14-assist outing, the Hawks lost 136-131. His performance marks 16 consecutive games scoring at least 29 points—tying Dominique Wilkins for the franchise-record.

“I don’t care about nothing besides the fact we lost, so it sucks I had this type of night on a loss because at the end of the day that’s all that matters to me,” Young said. “I just wish we would have won.”

Perhaps the main issue for the Hawks has been the team’s outright inability to get stops on defense. Allowing 136 points to a depleted Portland Trail Blazers is concerning on the surface, but it gets worse. Anfernee Simons dropped a career-high 43 points while Norman Powell (26), Nassir Little (22), and Jusuf Nurkic (21) each surpassed the 20-point mark.

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The Trail Blazers shot a staggering 52.8% from the field and made 18 attempts from deep while converting a 43.9% clip. Portland even turned it over just 9 times overall. It was just too easy for them to execute.

On the season, the Hawks now have a 113.0 defensive rating, which ranks ahead of only the Trail Blazers (114.8), Houston Rockets (114.4), and Charlotte Hornets (113.9). For a team coming off an Eastern Conference Finals appearance, that’s truly concerning.

Trae Young has been doing his best to help the team transcend the poor defensive results. He’s averaging an incredible 28.4 points (2nd) and 9.5 assists (3rd) on the season. Since recording back-to-back games below 20 points in late November, he’s averaged an incredible 32.2 points over his last 16 games on near 48-40-90 shooting splits while dropping 9.9 assists per game.

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There is still confidence from Young that his team will figure it out before it’s too late. The Hawks began the season 14-20 last season and currently themselves 16-20. He feels as though once key players return they will find a rhythm.

“We’re just trying to fight through it and weather the storm,” Young said. “Last year, we were 14-20 at this point, so we made progress; we’re 16-20. But we gotta find a way. We gotta find a way to turn it back around like we did last year, and I think we will. I think once we get guys back and guys start to get back in their rhythm we’ll turn it around.”

The NBA trade deadline is approaching and the Atlanta Hawks may need to be one of the teams that makes a move in order to get Trae Young more help.

About Grant Afseth 1082 Articles
Grant Afseth is a contributor to NBA Analysis Network who specializes in creating in-depth analysis. He also covers the Texas NBA teams for FanNation.