Trae Young drew comparisons to Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry all throughout his college career due to his ability to shoot the long ball. However, Young isn’t trying to be the next Curry. In fact, he notices some key differences in their games that make him unique.
“There’s a few differences,” Young told Bleacher Report. “The style of play, the way we play, there’s more opportunity for me to be on the ball, make more isolation plays. Things like that.
“We both shoot the ball really well but he’s shooting it at a super-high level—probably the best shooter of all time. We definitely have similarities with that, but there’s also things that are different.”
The 20-year-old Oklahoma product led the nation in scoring and assists in college, averaging 27.4 points per game with 8.8 assists. The crazy part is, he did it as a true freshman. Curry led the NCAA in scoring as well, but he didn’t do it until his junior year at Davidson. While he did average 28.6 points that season, he wasn’t close to being the kind of playmaker that Young was from the start.
Through the first 14 games of his NBA career, Young is averaging 17.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 8.2 assists. These numbers are eerily similar to Curry’s rookie year stats. Curry averaged 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists throughout his rookie campaign.
“I think they’re different players, honestly,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said of the comparison. “When Steph came out of Davidson, he was, and still is, one of the best catch-and-shoot, off-the-ball players that we’ve seen. It’s different. Trae comes in as the leader in the nation last year in assists, and a lot of his threes were off the dribble, which is different for a college player.
“So, he’s used to having the ball in his hands, Trae is. And when Steph came in the league, he was used to playing without the basketball. One of the things Steph had to learn and grow into was a guy that plays with the basketball, and one of the things Trae has to grow into is to play without it.”
The Hawks knew they wanted Young to be the focal point of their offense this season when they acquired him in a trade from the Mavericks on draft night. He’s proven to be an elite talent, and is one of the front-runners to receive Rookie of the Year honors.