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Trae Young

Oklahoma

Photo of Trae Young

  • (Wikimedia Commons)
  • Born: 9/19/98
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Wingspan: 6’4″
  • Weight: 175 lbs
  • Draft Eligibility: 2018
  • Nationality: American
  • High School: Norman North High School (Oklahoma)

Strengths

  • Dynamic combination of pull-up shooting, shiftiness with the ball and crafty passing vision on drive-and-kicks for a modern lead guard.
  • Low release but compensates with a quick trigger and the ability to pull up from 30 feet on a dime especially off hang dribbles. Transitions from dribble moves into his pull-up in elite fashion.
  • Has shot diversity in being close to a knockdown shooter operating off-ball on catch-and-shoot opportunities and can also sprint off screens and quickly set his feet to shoot effectively and effortlessly. Elite free throw shooter.
  • Handle is the most advanced in the class. Ball is on a string in confined areas displaying great control. Already has a bevy of dribble moves with hesitations and crossovers.
  • Incredibly shifty and agile with the ball side-to-side and wins with slipperiness, deception and change of speeds rather than raw burst/top end speed (burst is inconsistent).
  • Possesses rare passing vision attacking the basket, capable of surveying the floor and making skip passes, pocket passes and drop-offs at high speeds.
  • Crafty passer who can pass with either hand and unearth angles that most guards can’t unlock. Not afraid to fit the ball into tight spaces.
  • Fast hands swiping at balls on-ball defensively and has the instincts to generate events off-ball in passing lanes.
  • Agile laterally when engaged with his relatively quick feet and low center of gravity.

Weaknesses

  • Average physical tools for a modern lead guard in terms of height, physical stature and length. Has some strength development in the lower body but needs to add strength to his upper half.
  • Not an outlier in terms of top end speed and has inconsistent burst. More shifty agility wise than a straight burner.
  • Limited explosiveness off one or two feet around the basket as a finisher. Going to have to win with craft and touch at the next level and improve his body control. Also not a natural decelerating on drives, often times being out of control.
  • Low release on his shot without much of any elevation and out and not up motion impacts his ability to get to his shot against longer and better athletes, although the range shooting helps.
  • Shot selection taking contested deep range pull-ups leaves you wanting at times.
  • Apathetic on defense potentially due to his high offensive usage, but still lacks the reach to contest on the perimeter and is a one position defender at the next level. Dies on screens too often, drifts off-ball and is rarely in a stance.

Bottom Line

Young has the dynamism as a pull-up shooter, ball-handler, and passer that every team looks for in a modern skilled NBA lead guard. He’s a better shooter than even his plus 3pt percentage indicates, mostly because he’s creating most all of his own offense and is taking a ton of deep range pull-ups. Some of that is on him and his shot selection, but if a team can rein that in and leverage Young’s shooting gravity in ways Oklahoma can’t afford to we could be looking at a potentially elite shooter. Some question Young’s size and lack of explosion/speed at the next level, but he’ll have the threat of his shot and NBA spacing will only help him navigate especially in pick-and-roll. Also, it’s not like Young is Tyler Ulis physically, as he possesses workable size. Overall, Young has the translatable skill in key areas crucial to lead guards to compensate for his average tools at the next level, and it’s hard to see him not being at least a high-level backup, but there is a much higher ceiling outcome here. Young might have the shooting chops to get away with being a below average finisher, but any progress he makes around the basket is crucial to his 3-level scoring upside.

— Cole Zwicker, 12.7.17

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