Before all of you claim homerism, know that Reddit user 10x-EBITDA isn't a Hawks fan. This project wasn't done to defend and protect the team that so many Atlanta locals are becoming increasingly excited about. But it was done in order to show that maybe, just maybe, we should show star Hawks guard Trae Young the respect he deserves.
42 pages and only four days later — if I could have written my college papers that quickly, I would have spent a considerably longer amount of time at Hildy's Tavern across the street from my alma mater, Franklin & Marshall — our courageous Reddit author had compiled all the proof he felt was necessary. He titled it in a fairly straightforward manner: "Thoughts on Trae Young and How he Compares to Luka Doncic."
The preface is simple enough, too, as he claims that Young should be viewed as "one of the most unfairly criticized budding young superstars, ever." A bold stance, but not so bold when you consider his next point: that acclaimed NBA personality Bill Simmons called the draft day deal “one of the five worst trades of this century." And no, he doesn't attempt to say that Young is, in fact, better than Luka Doncic, who was on the other end of the deal. But at the same time, Young may not be much worse.
From there, it's a flurry of graphs, charts, statistics, metrics, comparisons and all the other NBA goodness you could ask for, solely for the purpose of getting Young the same superstar credibility as guys like Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum, just to name a couple. Some Redditors in the comments call it good and revealing evidence; some call it selective or misunderstanding. But one thing's for sure: it's a great conversation starter.
Take, for instance, the list that he compiled of every player in NBA history who has ever averaged at least 28.0 points and 8.0 assists per game with a true shooting percentage of at least 59%:
And what was every player's end of season acclaim after these stellar campaigns? Here's how they broke down in his words:
- Jordan (1988-89): Finished 2nd for MVP
- James (2009-10): Won MVP
- Harden (2016-17): Finished 2nd for MVP
- Harden (2017-18): Won MVP
- Lillard (2019-20): All-NBA 2nd Team
- Young (2019-20): "Shouldn't have been an All-Star starter"
You'll notice that the chart I embedded has win shares as part of it, which was not included in the 42-page thesis. Was that because Young's supporting cast or maybe his defense, was just that bad? Does this handful of stats skew just how productive Young really was? Could injuries and missed time have played a part in any of this? They're all possibilities, and they're all gone over, for the most part, within the analysis.
You can check out the full 42 pages in their entirety here, and you can find the Reddit post — filled with equally nuanced and meticulous comments dissecting the inaccuracies and fallacies within his research — through this link.
One guy who would agree with our Reddit researcher regarding Young's All-Star worthiness and overall respect in 2019-20? His teammate, John Collins.
“What he’s been able to do and how he’s played his hand with the cards he’s been dealt — he’s been as effective as he could have been,” Collins told NBA writer Chris Kirschner. “I feel like there are a lot of things people can nitpick, but I feel like what Trae has done with the situation he’s been given, I feel like he’s done as best as he possibly could have. I don’t want to get into too many details, but Trae has controlled what he can control. If you want to look at Trae’s individual performance, I feel like he has one of the best cases to be an All-Star.”
With the very real possibility that the Hawks are a competitive team in the East, as is expected with a core of Young, Collins and Clint Capela along with new pieces Danilo Gallinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic, there's a shot that Young's true superstar potential will be unleashed. But our Reddit author and Young supporter thinks we should all temper our expectations just a bit. He tells me that he expects them to be an eighth seed, given that the East is surprisingly strong and that all the roster turnover won't be easy to handle without a proper offseason and time to gel.
As for Young's career ceiling, however, the sky's the limit. He sees a "high-volume, slightly less [efficient] Steve Nash" as a decent comparison. A two-time MVP, eight-time All-Star and Hall of Famer? Not a bad outlook.
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I love Reddit. If you're not reading a 42-page analysis about why Trae Young deserves some more credit, then you're reading about the correlation between James Harden's road performances and the quality of the city's strip clubs where Harden is playing. Only on Reddit.