Trae Young Could Be All-Star Or Bust

Young is a "high-variance player," Ben Golliver says, one who is more likely to flop than become the next Steph Curry

Reiter Than You
July 09, 2018 - 4:56 pm
NBA: Summer League-New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks

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As the 2018 NBA Summer League is now underway in Las Vegas, every single team is hoping to discover the next generation of elite-level talent that will populate the game of basketball for years to come.

Sports Illustrated NBA writer Ben Golliver, who is reporting live from Sin City, gave his comprehensive view about a few of the NBA’s most promising prospects. 

While rookies tend to dominate headlines, Golliver said that the most significant revelations tend to come from second-year players like Suns small forward Josh Jackson, Heat center Bam Adebayo and Mavericks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. These players, Golliver said, can showcase how much they have grown from their rookie season by demonstrating their effectiveness against a highly talented yet inexperienced rookie class.

“The main thing that I look for is if you’re a second-year player, you better come out here and have a really nice performance,” Golliver said on Reiter Than You. “Because you want to show that progress and you really want to dominate the younger guys. So I think that is the most meaningful aspect of it is to just see the guys that you’ve seen before, how they have grown.”

For rookies, meanwhile, Summer League is their first chance to showcase their skills in an NBA setting – and coaches and executives take note.

“In terms of the rookies, it’s all about just first impressions – who stands out, who gets you excited, and who seems to fit with the types of offenses their teams play,” Golliver said. “Granted, not everybody from the coaching staffs take Summer League as seriously as others, but a lot of teams now do. It’s really become a big deal out here in Vegas. All 30 teams are here. So you’re seeing more and more organization out there. From that standpoint, I think you can see some stuff from the rookies as well.”

Golliver commented on Hawks guard Trae Young and Jazz guard Grayson Allen, who were involved in a brief scuffle last Thursday. He believes Young could blossom into an All-Star or be a complete bust.

“I think he’s a really high-variance player,” Golliver said “His best case scenario might see him jump into that All-Star conversation, but I think his worst case scenario could be really bad. I think some of the issues that people have had with him through the first couple of games in terms of creating space to get his shots off and then just the quality of his shot selection and his discipline there — those are things that he’s going to really have to work on a lot. I think at this point, you would say he’s a work in progress on those fronts. I do think he’s got a lot of nice vision, understanding of court space, setting up his teammates, and that stuff has kind of already translated.

“Personally — If I were the (Hawks), I would not have made the trade,” Golliver continued. “I would have just kept (Luka) Doncic and gone for it with him as the franchise guy, but you can kind of see what they’re thinking. I think (Hawks general manger Travis Schlenk) wants that next Steph Curry, and I just think that’s an unfair amount of pressure to put on anybody. I just don’t think that Trae Young is really that guy.”

Allen, meanwhile, finds himself in an appealing situation with the Utah Jazz. Instead of being thrown into a difficult position where he needs produce immediately, Allen can be eased into the rotation.

“For Grayson, I think it’s a perfect fit,” Golliver said. “They are going to have the luxury of bringing him along slowly and making him earn everything. To me, he’s a rotation guy, and if he proves to be more than that — maybe a guy that’s a full-time starter at some point down the road, then that’s great. He’s everything they’re looking for. He’s probably going to be there for the next eight years and giving them something of value.”