Exploring the Pros and Cons of Trae Young’s Impact on the Game

Atlanta guard Trae Young has put together one of the best statistical seasons in NBA history. Through Tuesday, Young is averaging 28.3 points per game with 11.2 assists. If he continues to play like this for the entire season, he will have broken the single-season scoring and assists records of Oscar Robertson (1,003 points per game), Tiny Archibald (1,335 points per game) and James Harden (1,393 points per game). These are the kinds of numbers that usually get a player mentioned in the MVP conversation, but Young might not even make it to the All-Star Game.

The Hawks begin their holiday break Tuesday night at Chicago, and Young is attempting to do something no other player in NBA history has done more than five times in a row. Young has had at least a 30-point, 10-assist game in each of the past seven games, which ties Robertson’s league-record streak from 1964-65.

“I’m going to go ahead and stop you there,” Young said after tying Robertson’s mark. “Let’s move on. I don’t care about my stats, let’s move on. Thanks, though. I appreciate it.

Maybe it’s maturity. Young has a cocky air about him that can be seen as arrogance. He’s only 6 feet tall and may be the smallest player in the league (his weight is 180 pounds, according to the Atlanta Hawks), but he rarely lets it get in the way of his ability to score.

Sometimes, though, it’s easy to dismiss his numbers as meaningless. With the league entering its Christmas break and Detroit on a record-breaking 26-game losing streak, Young hasn’t had much to show for it. He hasn’t averaged 30 points or 10 assists in his last five games.

It’s also worth noting that the injury-plagued Hawks went just 3-4 over those seven games while Young went on a 30-10 run. Pretty good numbers, right?

“You can’t just look at a player’s stats and say, ‘This is great, this is great,’ “Snyder said. “That’s especially true when you’re trying to figure out who the playmaker or leader is.”