Trae Young is an All-Star again. He can become a Hawks legend.

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young shoots a 3-pointer during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Credit: AP

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Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young shoots a 3-pointer during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Credit: AP

This weekend in Cleveland, Trae Young is set to play in his second NBA All-Star game in four seasons. That’s no surprise.

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It was obvious Young belonged in the league within a month of his debut. By Year 2 it was clear that Young was on the path to be among the league’s better point guards. In Year 3, he proved he could carry his team on a playoff run.

All-Star status is only the floor for Young. He can become so much better. It’s easy to forget he’s still only 23 years old. That happens when players are very good from the start.

Neuroscientists say that, on average, the human brain doesn’t fully develop until age 25. Statistical models say that elite basketball players peak at around age 27, followed by a sharp decline at 30 (the ageless LeBron James seems exempt). Young is so good now that his peak promises to be very high.

No one in the NBA is scoring as much and as efficiently as Young, while also setting up teammates to score so often. He’s the league’s fourth-leading scorer with an efficiency that ranks second only to Steph Curry among lead guards. Young ranks fourth in assists per game, and his turnover rate is seventh-best in his cohort.

The qualitative aspects of Young’s game are the magic behind the numbers. He manipulates defensive schemes designed to stop him. Young finds openings where there don’t seem to be any with superb ballhandling, change-of-pace and feel. It’s hard for opponents to account for everything he can do: jump shots off the dribble, scores on drives, pinpoint passes at the right time.

The hardest shots in the NBA are in the paint within the no-man’s land between layups and midrange jump shots. They are close enough to the rim to be challenged by big men, so converting them requires precise timing, the proper angle and a soft touch. Young, among the smallest men in the NBA, makes those floaters look easy — and flummoxes the big defenders who challenge him when he makes them look like they could be lobs.

Young might already be the best scorer/playmaker in the NBA. How good will he be once his wisdom, maturity, experience and talent fully blend in three years or so? Most of that is up to Young. It’s been impressive to see Young add to his game each time opponents adjusted. His biggest weakness is holding him back from making the jump from All-Star to All-NBA.

Young is one of the NBA’s worst defenders. His size means that he can do his best to guard and still get overwhelmed by bigger and stronger foes. Young’s stature does not hold him back from being committed to playing defense.

Curry is the model. Like Young, he’s a relatively small guard with big offensive responsibilities. He still works hard not to be the weak link on defense. Young can do the same. He must do it to become great.

It’s hard to blame Young for wanting total control of the offense at winning time. But his ball domination is counterproductive when the outcome is a series of bad shots or silly turnovers. Young had to learn to trust his teammates for the Hawks to take off last season. It’s a process. Remember, he’s 23.

The Hawks as an organization must help Young be great. When coach Nate McMillan took over from Lloyd Pierce last year, he drew up more actions off the ball so Young would have more space and options. Now McMillan has the tough task of coaxing his star point to move the ball when the offense is stagnant and holding Young accountable on defense.

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk knew he had to build a good roster around Young before last season. Two years of tanking had taken a toll on his young point guard. The 2020-21 Hawks were a better, deeper team but didn’t have an All-Star talent other than Young. He still led them deep into the Eastern Conference finals.

How far could Young take the Hawks if they team him with another elite player? Ideally, it would be a scoring and playmaking guard or small forward. Those type of players are hard to acquire. Schlenk did it by drafting Young. His job is figuring out a way to get another All-Star.

The clock is ticking. Young signed a contract extension last year that doesn’t expire until after the 2026-27 season. Young has the option of terminating the deal a year early. A player of his caliber can flex his power to leave even sooner.

There’s a symbiotic relationship between franchise and star. Young plays at an elite level while refining his game. The Hawks keep him happy by constantly seeking to improve the roster. I want to see both things happen so that Young stays in Atlanta through his peak years.

Then we’d get to see just how great he and the Hawks can be. Dominique Wilkins is the bar for Atlanta basketball legends. Young has the talent to clear it. He’s already on his way to being a marketable superstar.

Young is featured alongside Chris Paul in those insurance commercials that seem to play on a nonstop loop on my television. The NBA signaled that Young is part of the new generation of stars by including him in the commercial celebrating the league’s 75th anniversary. Young was in the same (fictional) neighborhood as Russell, Magic, Dr. J., The Logo, Kareem, Larry Legend and Isiah.

Young obviously isn’t at near the same level as those all-time greats. The possibility that he could get there one day stirs the imagination. It’s hard not to get carried away about what Young can become when you watch what he already can do. He plays with a fearlessness that makes it seem as if he believes he can do anything. Anyone who doubts him can end up eating their words.

Young went to Madison Square Garden for his playoff debut last year and instantly became the villain. A silence fell on the mecca of basketball when Young won Game 1 with one of his deadly floaters. Young went back to New York for Game 6 and beat the Knicks to end their season. Then he took a bow like a Broadway star.

“You just got to shut up,” Knicks super fan Spike Lee recently told ESPN. “What can you say? He was killing us.”

Young helped the Hawks conquer the favored 76ers in the next round. That essentially ended The Process, Philadelphia’s euphemism for tanking for draft picks. Young was putting it on the Bucks in the East finals until a freak ankle injury slowed him down. The lousy luck and sour ending against the eventual NBA champs left us wanting more.

The Hawks still have most of the same players from that team. They’ve struggled to recapture the same vibe. Young is having his best season, yet the Hawks are on the edges of the playoff race.

The Hawks stand 10th in the East. To make the play-in tournament for the postseason, they must finish at least that high over the final 24 games. Young will get his shine this weekend before going back on the grind. His goal is to lead the Hawks on another deep playoff run.

The Hawks have a special player to build around. He must do his part to be great. The team’s decision-makers can’t mess up the rest. It won’t be tragic if they do. It’s just basketball. Still, it would be a huge disappointment for Atlanta basketball fans if the paring of Young and the Hawks doesn’t result in greatness for both.

We saw Young carry the Hawks further than they’ve ever been in Atlanta when he was just 22. We’ve seen him blossom into a two-time All-Star at age 23. The hope is that this is only the beginning. The dream scenario is within reach: Young becomes an Atlanta basketball legend for the NBA champion Hawks.