Exclusive: Hawks’ Young aims to show ‘reason why I’m known’

Trae Young and the Hawks have struggled early, but see promise in both their point guard and future.

ATLANTA — The time was almost 11 p.m., and dressed in his white Nike tank top, a sweaty Trae Young sat down at his locker. Young and the Atlanta Hawks had been blown out by the Boston Celtics almost 90 minutes ago.

Most of the Hawks players had already left the arena. Celtics star Kyrie Irving had already gotten showered, changed, and spoken to the media 30 minutes prior. But Young had not showered. He instead had been out on the court getting up more shots.

Now, he sat at his locker, alone with his thoughts, sweaty and likely feeling a little demoralized from the loss.

“It means a lot,” Young told Amico Hoops when asked what it meant to hear the kind words Irving had for him after the game. “Someone who I’ve looked up too.”

Irving and Young actually have a lot in common. Irving was a young, heralded guard out of Duke who entered the NBA with huge expectations. It was no cakewalk, though. He had to suffer through the aftermath of a Cleveland Cavaliers team that had recently lost LeBron James to the Miami Heat. The Cavaliers were a miserable 21-45 (lockout shortened season) in Irving’s rookie year.

Right now Young and the Hawks are on a 10-game losing streak and rank dead last in the NBA with a record of 3-16.

“Just for him [Irving] to be in the same position that I’m in right now; I mean it’s good to hear that, because of what he’s doing now and what he is doing with his team,” Young told Amico Hoops.

Earlier in the week, Young had an impressive 25-points and 17-assist showing against some of the leagues’ elite defenders in Los Angeles Clippers guards Patrick Beverley and Avery Bradley.

However, Young struggled with his efficiency, shooting just 8-of-22 from the field. Regardless of the efficiency, no one can debate that a 17-assist outing from a rookie is sensational.

Unfortunately, the previous two games were not as kind. Wednesday vs. the Toronto Raptors, Young finished with just six points and five assists. Friday vs. the Celtics would only get worse, as he scored five points and compiled two assists, the Hawks trailing by double-digits the entire 2nd half.

Young is averaging 15.6 points and 7.8 assists. One of his main attributes is his supreme confidence, which makes you wonder why he took just seven shots in each of two aforementioned games.

“I don’t know,” Young said. “I think that’s something that I’ve gotta get back too — playing with more confidence, playing like the reason why I’m known.”

A lot of top-five draft picks may have driven home in their luxury sedan and been at home by now. Not Young, who clearly possesses a devoted work ethic and desire to be great. It is clear to see he is cut from a different cloth.

“I think it’s just getting back in the gym and just figuring out how to get back to it,” Young said.

At just 20-years old, Young also has a great deal of charisma and passion for the game. He doesn’t take his frustrations out on those around him. The respect he shows is the same as if they had just won and he had a great game.

“I’m not too worried,” Young said, exhibiting that confidence once more.

A decade from now, he will still only be 30 years old. That’s still young by NBA standards.

It is likely only be a matter of time before he truly blossoms. It’s pretty evident that Young is truly a-one-of-a kind talent who’s also a one-of-a-kind person.