Numbers don’t matter: For Trae Young, it’s all about winning

Trae Young averaged 29.6 points, 9.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds in his second season with the Atlanta Hawks. The first-time All-Star (who also started in February’s game) finished second in the NBA in scoring and assists. 

Young often draws comparisons to Dallas Mavericks All-Star Luka Doncic, and rightfully so. The Hawks traded Doncic to the Dallas Mavericks for Young in the 2018 NBA Draft. Young does not allow the comparisons to get to him. Instead, he knows that he can only control himself and what he does best. 

“It’s gonna be that way till we’re both done playing,” Young told YardBarker’s Chris Rowan back in March. “Might as well just embrace it.”

Already a household name, Young has goals beyond personal accolades, a bigger goal in mind. 

“I’m all about winning and that’s what I’m going to be talking about going forward,” he told The Atlanta-Journal Constitution

The Hawks finished last season 20-47 and were not invited to the Orlando Bubble to contend for a playoff spot. 

Stats are not important to the star, and his focus lies on changing the team culture. Young is the unquestioned leader and best player on this team and will have to continue to elevate and propel his game to new heights beyond stats. 

The Hawks have not seen the playoffs since 2017, which turned in to a first-round exit via the Washington Wizards. Young does not want to have a drought like this for much longer. 

“I don’t ever want to not be in the playoffs again,” Young told Spencer. 

At six-foot-one and 180 pounds, Young’s size will not win ball games. Instead, his heart and desire to win give the franchise and its fans much to look forward to. Additionally, Young dazzles fans with his creative ball-handling and playmaking on offense – he makes those around him better.

It is a staple of his game, but defenders will begin to key in on him more and force Young to beat them in other ways. Young shoots the three-pointer well and is a must-guard player after he crosses halfcourt. 

Young wants to be a winner, and the only way to do that is to make the playoffs. He has shown he belongs in the NBA and will continue to impress and show others the star that he is. To enter into the conversation as one of the great players in the league, Young has to become synonymous with winning and consistently taking his teammates to the playoffs. 

The playoffs are an added edge of intensity and competition where you have to raise your game to be worthy and good opponents. The NBA Eastern Conference will be very competitive this year, with teams getting healthy stars back and younger players gaining more experience during the 2020-21 season. It remains to be seen if Young will guide the Hawks to the playoffs, but the journey begins with Thursday’s dominant 124-104 win over the Chicago Bulls.