Trae Young is an NBA All-Star starter



It’s always been a goal of Trae Young’s to play in the All-Star game.

It didn’t take him too long to achieve just that, with an added bonus. At age 21, in his second season in the NBA, Young isn’t just participating in the All-Star game — he’ll be a starter.

Young was named one of five starters from the Eastern Conference pool, joining Boston’s Kemba Walker, Toronto’s Pascal Siakam, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo received the most fan votes of any Eastern Conference player, (5,902,286), so he was named a team captain.

“This has been a dream of mine since I was a kid, since my grandpa was alive, watching the All-Star game with him,” Young said after practice Thursday, before starters had been announced. “Every year, watching Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, just chilling, making sure I got all my homework done so I could go home and watch the game.”

Young is the first Hawks player to be voted an All-Star starter since Dikembe Mutombo in 1998. He finished first in fan voting (2,829,969) among Eastern Conference guards, which accounted for 50% of the total vote determining starters, second in media voting and third in voting by other current players, both of which accounted for 25% each of the vote.

“Starters is a big difference in my eyes,” Young said earlier Thursday. “I think that’d be crazy. I’ve seen everything, there’s a lot of things that go into it and a lot of things that go through my mind about All-Star games and all that, and being a starter is definitely a different level. So that’d be cool. We’ll see. I don’t want to jinx myself.”

With his stellar passing and creativity (and tendency to highly entertaining to watch on offense. The potential knock on him was the Hawks’ record (11-34) and standing, as they’re last in the Eastern Conference, but he made the cut nonetheless.

“Trae’s an All-Star,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said earlier Thursday. “The stuff he’s doing, the numbers he’s put up, the way he’s playing, the way people scheme and game plan for him, you don’t do that to regular players, you do that to All-Stars. You do that to elite players. And we go as Trae goes. And even as they do that, he still averages 29 and nine. And he does it in a very efficient and phenomenal way.”

Young ranks third in the league in scoring (29.2 points per game) and fourth in assists (8.6 per game), and he’s registered 14 double-doubles so far this season.

Starters from the Western Conference pool include the Lakers’ Anthony Davis and LeBron James, who was named a team captain, Houston’s James Harden, the Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard and Dallas’ Luka Doncic.

With both Young and Doncic, who is 20, in the mix, this marks the second time ever the All-Star game will feature multiple players 21 and younger (the first instance was Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett in 1998).

As team captains, James and Antetokounmpo will draft their teams from the pool of starters regardless of conference affiliation, and those teams will be revealed Feb. 6 on TNT. Reserve players (selected by NBA coaches) will be revealed Jan. 30 on TNT

The All-Star game will take place Feb. 16 at United Center in Chicago.