Trae Young is breaking out of the shooting woes that monopolized the conversation following the start of the point guard’s career with the Hawks.
A quick recap:
In his first three summer league games, Young went 12 of 52 (.231) from the field, including 3 of 24 (.125) from 3-point range, in the Utah Jazz Summer League. The Hawks moved to the Las Vegas Summer League this weekend and Young showed signs of the promise that made him the No. 5 overall selection in the NBA Draft. He scored 21 points, with 11 assists, in the opening game with three 3-pointers, matching his long-range total from three games in Salt Lake City. Young missed two 3-point attempts while being limited to one half due to a right quad contusion in the Hawks’ second game in Las Vegas. His summer league totals were 16 of 66 (.242) from the field, including 6 of 35 (.171) from 3-point range to that point.
On Tuesday, Young had a second big game. He finished with a game-high 24 points while shooting 7 of 19 from the field and 7 of 14 from 3-point range in a 101-93 victory over the Bulls. So that’s one more 3-pointer than the previous five games combined.
His numbers now stand at 23 of 85 (.271) from the field and 13 of 49 (.265) from 3-point range.
Young made 3 of 4 3-pointers in the first quarter to get off a solid start.
“Of course when you make one early it feels good but at the end of the day you get in a rhythm and each game you get better and better,” Young said. “That’s my main thing. Get better each and every game. That’s what I’ve been doing.”
Prior to the start of the Las Vegas Summer League, friend and fellow first-round draft pick Michael Porter Jr. posted a video of support on social media. Porter said: “Hey, I want to say to all you all hating on my guy Trae Young right now, I want you to keep that same energy when he starts killing. Cause he’s going to start killing and all you all hating on him right now are going to eat your words. So keep that same energy. Yup.”
Young was asked Tuesday whether he had seen the video. Indeed he had.
“He’s speaking facts,” Young said of his reaction.
The Hawks conclude the preliminary round in Las Vegas with a 1-2 record after going 0-3 in Salt Lake City. The event moves to tournament play on Wednesday. The Hawks are guaranteed at least two more games.
Young got off to a fast start with 11 first-quarter points. Problem was, the rest of the team shot 1 of 10 from the field and the Hawks trailed 33-18.
The Hawks closed the game to three points, 50-47, by intermission with much-improved second quarter. They took the lead in the third quarter and were in control the rest of the way.
Jaylen Adams, the Hawks’ two-way signee, finished with 23 points, including five 3-pointers. Jaylen Morris added 17 points, Antonius Cleveland had 12 points and Omari Spellman and Alpha Kaba had 10 points apiece for the Hawks. Spellman also had 10 rebounds.
The Bulls got 23 points each from Atlanta’s Wendell Carter Jr. and Antonio Blakeney.
Young said the slow start is nothing new. He experienced the same as a freshman at Oklahoma.
“My first two games in college were my worst games of the year,” Young said. “It’s a transition. You have to get a good flow and good feel for it. Coming in, I didn’t know what to expect so the first couple of games was getting my feet under me and figuring it out.
“The speed of the game is the biggest adjustment. Figuring out the pace and how I need to play fast or slow it down.”
Young said following the summer league, he will take a vacation – a few days off, he termed it – before returning to Oklahoma to train. At some point, he’ll move to Atlanta to being his professional career in earnest.
The Hawks played without John Collins and Tyler Dorsey, who missed his second game with left hip tightness.