Trae Young has mixed emotions about playing in the 2020 NBA Rising Stars game, a matchup between 10 first- and second-year players from the U.S. and from around the world over All-Star weekend.
On one hand, he’s excited to get the nod for the second year in a row (as a rookie, Young finished with a double-double of 25 points and 10 assists in Team USA’s 161-144 win against Team World). On the other, he feels more of his teammates should have been invited, mentioning fellow second-year player Kevin Huerter and rookies De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish by name.
“Obviously I’m blessed and I’m excited to be able to go and compete again and be in Rising Stars Friday night,” Young said at practice Friday afternoon. “A little frustrated we couldn’t get another, at least one other guy on our team in the game.
“I think what Kev’s been doing all year, what (De’Andre Hunter’s) been doing, what Cam’s been doing as of late, our team is full of rising stars. For us to not be able to get at least two in is frustrating for me, but again I’m blessed to be able to go out and I’m going to try and represent our team in the best way.”
Huerter is averaging 13.9 points per game in January, Reddish shot 40.3% from 3-point range in January and Hunter has come on strong as of late, averaging 16.25 points over the last four games, but Young, recently named an All-Star starter, seemed to be the only lock for the Hawks.
Young is third in the NBA in scoring (29.4 points per game), trailing only Houston’s James Harden (35.7) and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (30), and he’s second in assists (9.2), trailing only the Lakers’ LeBron James (10.7).
The Rising Stars rosters were selected by NBA assistant coaches, with each coaching staff submitting a ballot of four frontcourt players, four guards and two additional players, with a minimum of three rookies and three sophomore players for each team.
Young will be joined by New Orleans’ Zion Williamson, Miami’s Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn and Memphis’ Ja Morant, among others, on Team USA.
Team World will feature Dallas’ Luka Doncic, Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton and New York’s RJ Barrett, to name a few.
So far, Young is set to participate in the Rising Stars game, which takes place Friday, Feb. 14, and the All-Star game on Sunday, Feb. 16, both of which will take place at United Center in Chicago. According to Yahoo Sports, Young has also been invited to participate in the 3-point contest and skills competition, though that has not been formally announced.
Still, it looks like Young is in for a busy All-Star weekend. But he doesn’t mind his heavy workload (averaging 35.1 minutes per game) during the regular season, and doesn't think more experiences over the All-Star break will wear him out, especially with this being just his second year in the league.
“I’m 21,” Young said. “That’s the only thing that gets me going. I’m still enjoying it. I’m in the process of going through all this once, twice, and I think adrenaline still gets me going. I think that’s why I’m able to play so many minutes, I’m able to enjoy everything I have going on, because I’m still young. This is still pretty new to me.”
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