Eight Things About Trae Young's 2018-19 Season
Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images
Author: Kevin L. Chouinard (@KLChouinard)
1) Trae did numbers and entered 'Oscar Robertson Territory'
Young averaged 19.1 points, 8.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game in his first NBA season. He led all rookies in total points (1549) and assists (653) while finishing fifth in steals (72) and eighth in rebounds (301).
Young and Robertson (1960-61) are the only two rookies in NBA history to score 1500 or more points and hand out 600 or more assists. Young and Robertson are also the only two rookies in league history to have seven or more games with 30+ points and 10+ assists.
2) Trae made more extra-long threes in a season than anyone in NBA history
Young successfully converted 24 of 68 of his shot attempts that measured between 30 and 40 feet (35.3 percent).
These shots are the ones with the potential to warp the geometry of opposing defenses. If Young continues to make them with regularity, he will either (1) continue to get wide-open shots from that distance, or (2) defenses will have to bend far beyond their normal coverages, opening up valuable driving lanes for Young.
Shot-distance data dates back to the 2000-01 season. Young is the first-ever player to convert 20 or more shots in that shot range (Source: Basketball Reference). In fact, the only players to make 10 or more such shots in a season are Steph Curry (three times), Spencer Dinwiddie (2017-18) and Damian Lillard (2018-19).
Not counted in those stats: Young's 30-foot preseason bomb to break open a tie game against the San Antonio Spurs at Georgia Tech in the game's final seconds. Teammate Taurean Prince called it his favorite moment of the season.
"If you go back and look at it, it looked like it was photoshopped," Prince said. "The ball went it. It was crazy. That was one of the moments where I was like, 'OK. We've got this. We've got this one for sure.' "
Speaking of which...
3) Trae came through in the clutch
Young made a ridiculous number of late-game shots in tense moments. Over a span of nine days in March, Young hit a game-winning floater to seal a win over the 76ers and bounced in an impossible putback at the buzzer to clinch a win over the Bucks.
Sandwiched in between those two game-winners, Young became the only rookie of the 2018-19 season to win a Player of the Week award in either conference.
4) Trae, in his own words, on what he hopes to improve on heading into next season
"There’s a lot of things I want to improve on. For me, I want to continue to maintain my strength and get stronger. I want everyone to see the transformation in my body from now until next season. I want to continue to work on my conditioning, focus a lot on that, and then a lot of things on the court."
5) Every time Trae threw an alley-oop to a teammate, he jumped with them.
He really did. See?
6) Trae had the most assists ever by a rookie 20-years-old or younger.
The list of 20-and-under players who had 500 or more assists in their rookie season is flush with All-Stars and Hall of Famers. Trae Young sits at the top of the list.
7) Trae learned a bunch in his rookie season
The stats back up the fact that Young is going to be a one-of-a-kind generational passer, as do the video highlights. Even more encouraging is that Young became more efficient as the season wore on.
Young proved to be durable in his rookie season, starting and playing in 81 of a possible 82 games. 81 games splits neatly into three groups of 27 games each. In his first 27 games, Young had a turnover rate of 14.3 percent. In his next 27 games, his turnover rate was 14.0 percent. In the final segment of 27 games, Young slashed his turnover rate down to 10.6 percent.
8) Trae Young earned his head coach's endorsement for Rookie of the Year
Lloyd Pierce did not mince words.