Trae Young has been playing with a chip on his shoulder.
Ever since the Hawks swapped Luka Doncic for the former Oklahoma star and a 2019 first-round draft pick, Young keeps hearing the Hawks made a mistake. After the swap, questions surrounded the Hawks’ decision, but Young, who is neck-and-neck with Doncic in almost every statistical category through their first 13 games, isn’t letting the doubters in.
In fact, he believes he’ll end up being a better player.
“The thing with Luka, he’s a great player,” Young said in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated. “I don’t understand why it can’t work out for both situations. I hear (Atlanta made a mistake) all the time. Luka’s a great dude, and I think he’s going to be a really good player. But at the same time, I’m going to be a better player. Just because of my ability to stretch the floor, get others involved, I think I’ll be better.”
There isn’t much separating the two so far this season. Young is averaging 18.5 points per game, while Doncic is putting up slightly more at 19.6. Young has out dished Doncic, 8.2 to 4.4, respectively. But then the roles are switched when you look at the rebounding numbers — Doncic is averaging 6.5 per game, while Young is grabbing 3.3.
Young has been shooting 42.6 percent from the field and knocking down 28.4 percent of his 3-point attempts. Doncic, on the other hand, has a slight edge as he is shooting 47.4 from the field and 38.6 from long range.
In their earlier head-to-head matchup on Oct. 24, the Hawks came back from a 20-point deficit to defeat the Mavs, 111-104. Young recorded 17 points and five assists, while Doncic tallied 21 points and nine rebounds.
The two teams won’t face each other again until Dec. 12.