Welcome back to LWOS NBA Draft Coverage, the column that brings you player profiles for the next crop of professional basketball players that are likely to be selected in the upcoming draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow us on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical profiles and scouting reports. Check out our complete coverage of the 2018 NBA Draft. Last Word On Sports is your new headquarters for all things 2018 NBA Draft!
Trae Young – 6’2” Point Guard, Oklahoma, 19 Years Old
Trae Young enters the NBA Draft as a potential top-10 pick. During his one season at Oklahoma, Young became the most talked about prospect in the nation. The 6’2” point guard played 32 games and was a key player for the Sooners. A one-and-done at Oklahoma, Young and his teammates were also one & done in the tournament. After losing against Rhode Island, Young would later announce he was entering the NBA Draft.
Young averaged 27 points, 8.7 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game, shooting 42 percent from the field and 36 percent from beyond the arc. Easily Oklahoma’s most valuable player, Young was a one-man show at times. A consensus first-team All-American in his one and only season in college, Young also led the nation in scoring and assists.
An excellent shooter, Young is deadly from range. This, mixed with his great vision and shiftiness with the ball, makes him a difficult player to guard. Capable of shooting from 30 feet, Young has a quick trigger which compensates for his low release. An elite free throw shooter, Young can score in many ways. Young is a knockdown shooter and can set himself in off- and on-ball situations. This makes stopping him a challenge because he can hurt you in so many different ways.
One of the best ball-handlers in this class, Young uses his skill on the ball to either create space to shoot or find the open man. He enters the league with a full bag of tricks when handling the ball. His vision is advanced for a player his age, averaging almost nine assists per game in college. Known for finding the open man, Young isn’t afraid to take a risk when passing the ball. Not fast on the ball, Young is more of a quick an agile player. One area of his game where he thrives is the pick-and-roll game. His measurements aren’t that great, but as he showed in college, he finds a way to get things done.
Defensively, Young could struggle at the next level as he didn’t exactly thrive in college. This is mainly due to his limits physically. Lacking strength, he can be bullied and out-muscled by the bigger guards. This is something he can expect in the NBA. Lacking in length and natural athleticism, Young will need to get stronger and use his craftiness at the defensive end.
Turnovers were a big problem for Young in college. His usage rate at Oklahoma was rather high, as he handled the ball frequently. It’s unlikely he will be given as much responsibility in his rookie year. Those turnover issues should be sorted out over time. One area of his game that became frustrating during his time at Oklahoma was his shot selection. We all know he’s more than capable, but when a player pulls up from 30 plus feet and falls short, fans and coaches aren’t impressed. However, that is how he plays so expect it to continue.
If he improves as expected, Young can be a legitimate NBA-caliber starter for many years. Your typical modern NBA guard, he has the skill to thrive in the league if things go to plan. However, he must get stronger, he must play smarter and he must fall to the right team. A team that is willing to be patient with him. Expect Young to receive the Lonzo Ball treatment; everything he does will be scrutinized on a game-to-game basis.
NBA Player Comparison
The easy and rather lazy comparison for Young is Steph Curry. We all know they can both shoot for a living but there’s another player Young can be compared to. Steve Nash was a player who could score, shoot, pass and had no outstanding physical attributes. Sound familiar? Now, Young has a long way to go before he’s anywhere near as good as the future Hall of Famer, but he has the makeup and skillset to be a similar player. Nash’s mind worked faster than his legs ever could. Expect Young to play the same way.
Look for Trae Young to be a top-10 pick on draft night, and be sure to stay updated with our complete coverage of the 2018 NBA Draft!
WICHITA, KS – DECEMBER 16: Oklahoma Sooners guard Trae Young (11) during the college mens basketball game between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Wichita State Shockers on December 16, 2017 at the Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas. (Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)