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Hey look, we can't ignore this guy any more. I'm not sure why we ever did. Probably because Oklahoma's Trae Young is only 6'2" and 180 pounds. How many high-scoring little guys in college have failed to survive in the NBA? The list is huge.

But after 12 games, Oklahoma is 11-1 and Young is averaging 29.6 points, 10.7 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. He is shooting .475 from the field, .413 on threes and .856 from the foul line. Tough to ignore those numbers. The potential Lakers pick, owned by the Celtics if it falls 2-5, is now slotted at number two. Young is ranked third in NBA's latest mock draft. Here is what TheBigLead's Tully Corcoran had to say about Young:

But (Trae) Young isn’t just a good shooter, he’s a threat to score from 30 feet on in, every single possession. He requires very little space to get off a shot, and he does not have, within his marrow, anything like “reluctance.”

He is like (Stephen) Curry in the sense that when he’s on the floor, the geometry of the game is different, and conventions fall apart. With the ball in his hands, Young will make unusual choices that keep defenders on their heels and sometimes surprise his teammates, and he has a shot for every stage of a drive. There’s the pull-up 3 he’ll take any time it’s there, and there is a toolbox full of layup moves he’ll go to at the rim, but then he’s got this floater he can hit from at least 15 feet. Some possessions it looks like he’s playing eenie-meenie-miney-mo deciding which shot to go with.

The Stephen Curry comparisons were inevitable, but watching this kid play you can see why they are being broached. Here is NBADraft's William P. Desautelle on Trae's strengths:

... The first thing that jumps out about Young is his seemingly limitless shooting range ... Young is a threat to score from anywhere on the court once he crosses half court and can effortlessly knock down shots beyond the NBA three-point line ... He may be the best shooter in college basketball since Stephen Curry played at Davidson ... What separates Young from other great shooters is that, like Curry, he has the ability to knock down shots from distance off a variety of dribble moves and not just off the catch or off of simple one-dribble pull ups ... He has a quick, compact release with minimal wasted motion that allows him to get his shot off even in tight space ... Although he is not the most explosive athlete, the threat of his jumper forces defenders to guard him way out on the perimeter, making it easier for him to get by his man and into the paint ... Young’s ability to operate out of the pick and roll is very advanced for a player of his age ... He makes great decisions and quick reads off of ball screens and is always under control ... Young always plays with his head up in these situations and shows great vision in the half court and in transition... In transition, Young does an excellent job of leading the break and is dangerous due to his combination of vision and craftiness around the rim ... When he goes to the basket, he is adept at using his body to shield himself from bigger defenders and finish through contact



Trae Young is a special player at the college level. Will that translate to the NBA, and should Boston even consider taking him if they have the opportunity? There are too many variables to answer that question right now. But one thing is certain. Trae can no longer be ignored. He is extremely talented. Several teams regretted bypassing Steph Curry, chosen seventh in the 2009 draft. The same may happen with Trae Young.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Jordan Miller/The Daily
Video via SQUADawkins

Tom Lane 1/02/2018 08:29:00 AM Edit
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