Should We Worry About Trae Young?


Trae Young has been one of the biggest headlines of the NBA Summer League, and not for good reason.

The No. 5 overall pick has struggled in most of his first five professional games and people are already claiming the former Oklahoma star is a bust.

But how much stock should we put into Summer League games, if any? Is this really the first test for NBA rookies, or do things start to matter when the regular season starts?

Young's 30-foot three pointers quickly caught the attention of the nation last year. The young point guard who single-handedly carried his Sooners squad through the season was a major headline in college basketball, that is, until he started to struggle.

Early in the season, we tuned in to watch Young's multiple deep-balls and to keep up with the “Trae counter” ESPN provided us with. Once the whole world was put on notice of the young Stephen Curry, when teams were already deep into conference play, Young's production started to falter.

This caused fans who caught on late to label him as a bust, and his performance in the Summer League hasn't helped.

In five games, Young has shot over 30 percent from the field just twice and over 20 percent from deep only once. He also has made more than one three pointer in a game just once.

His first game was particularly hard to watch, for obvious reasons:

Young did play well in his fourth game however, posting a double-double with 21 points and 11 assists. His play in the Summer League overall has still been subpar

The Summer League has not been a consistent indicator of who will stand out when the NBA season starts.

Not every star shows out during the Summer League, also, half of the people who stand out in the summer end up doing nothing. Jerryd Bayless, Glen Rice Jr., Tyus Jones and Randy Foye were all Summer League MVP's. Anthony Randolph, Adam Morrison and Josh Selby were also summer stars, yet none of these players did anything noteworthy in the NBA.

Young's most note-worthy skill is his shooting ability, and since that hasn't exactly showed in the NBA so far, people are labeling him as a bust, but he's hardly the only rookie this season to struggle with his shooting percentage.

One of the things most if not all rookies struggle with in the NBA Summer League is shooting. Look at No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley III, he was playing his first Summer League games on his home court in Sacramento and yet shot just 9-of-29 from the floor in three games.

No. 21 overall pick Grayson Allen also has struggled shooting the ball. Allen was a legitimate scorer in college, averaging 21.6 points per game in just his sophomore season, but he has shot just 6-of-29 from the floor, even with his home crowd backing him in Utah.

by AP Photos
by AP Photos

Young is a volume shooter, which is why his bad games look even worse in the box score. He was given the green light from his very first game and he has played aggressively. His overall play hasn't been all bad however.

Young led the NCAA both in scoring and assists during his one season at Oklahoma, and his ability as a passer has already been on display in the Summer League.

In his first two games, Young focused primarily on shooting the ball instead of passing. We saw his focus change the following two games, where he recorded seven assists and 11 assists. In his fifth game against Portland, Young exited early due to injury, but in just nine minutes he recorded three assists.

Young may not be the Steph-esque player some thought he would be, but he definitely is a smart passer who knows how to dictate the pace of the game. That's something important to realize if for some reason Young never finds his shot.

So, should we worry about Trae Young? Absolutely not.

The Summer League is not a consistent indicator of NBA talent and you shouldn't judge someone until they have played significant minutes for a month or two in the NBA.

He will find his shot and he's already shown off his ability as a passer. I'm not saying Young will be a star or the second coming of Steph Curry, but he has the potential to be a decent NBA player.