Hawks rookie Trae Young missed his first 10 shots during his summer league debut Monday. It looked like it would be another nightmarish shooting night for Young when he missed his first five field-goal attempts against the Spurs on Tuesday.
But Young found his groove in the second half against the Spurs by getting to the basket for scores and setting up his teammates with good looks. Young scored eight of his 12 points after halftime and was 4-for-8 from the field in the second half after missing 7 of 8 shots in the first.
“Shots still aren’t falling, but I found ways, just like I did in the last game, to impact the game,” Young said after the Hawks lost 103-81. “My main thing right now is to make the right plays. As a team we are not knocking down shots that we are going to eventually hit. So I’m excited we are getting the looks we are getting, we are just not knocking down shots right now. Eventually it will come, and when it does, it will come fast.”
As in his first game, Young got into a rhythm after halftime by making plays for his teammates. Young recorded three assists against one turnover in the second half and scored on some impressive drives to the basket.
Over the final 1:24 of the third quarter, Young set up Jaylen Adams with a 3-pointer and collected his own missed 3-point attempt and followed with a nice floater for a score. All three of Young’s baskets in the fourth quarter were on drives, including a reverse layup under pressure and a transition score after he poked the ball away from Spurs guard Derrick White.
“I felt very comfortable,” Young said. “I felt good. I got into a rhythm finishing. I did pretty well today finishing around the rim. But I’m getting a lot of the (defensive) face guard, a lot of the picking up full court, so I’m just trying to make the right play, make the right pass.
“And whenever I get a shot try to knock it down. I’m getting shots I usually hit, but it’s just my second game playing five-on-five since college. I’ve got to get it going again. It’s going to come.”
Young gained fame at Oklahoma for making long-range 3’s en route to leading the NCAA in scoring. But Young also led the NCAA in assists, and the Hawks see Young’s playmaking as potentially his greatest value in the NBA.
Young has missed 14 of 16 3-point attempts in two games, but Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said he’s satisfied with how Young is running the team.
“The shots aren’t falling, but I wouldn’t say he’s necessarily struggling,” Pierce said. “We charted a lot of things. We are looking at how he is facilitating and getting guys involved. For me, the biggest thing is, is he making the right plays? There were a ton of possessions last night and tonight where he made the right play.”
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Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com