As the Rookie of the Year debate heats up, Trae Young is the frontrunner in a tight race! The Atlanta Hawks point guard explains what’s fueled his breakout year so far, and how he’s been a prominent leader for the team in its 2nd year of a rebuild.
It’s no secret that Trae Young has been nothing short of spectacular in his NBA rookie year. The 20-year-old former Oklahoma sooner was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the 5th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, only to be subsequently traded to the Atlanta Hawks. But, the Hawks have been quite content with their decision, as Trae has helped the team reach new heights in the second year of its rebuild. In an EXCLUSIVE video (seen below), the standout point guard explains his passion for the game of basketball since age five, his endless dedication to his craft, and what forced him to become a “patient” leader that the Hawks needed oh so badly.
“I think basketball has made me a leader, just because I play a point guard position. I communicate on the floor, off the floor, I know how to handle all the players I’m with and every position,” Trae says during an exclusive episode of Rookie On The Rise. “The point guard position helps you mature quicker,” he explains. “It makes you, not necessarily helps you, but it makes you do certain things a lot faster than others and be a leader for sure.”
Trae has reached a slew of major milestones this year, including his historic 49-point and 16-assists against the Chicago Bulls on March 1, 2019. With a stat-line that pretty, Trae found himself in good company. — He joined Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James as the only rookies to notch 40-plus points and 10-plus assists in a single game in the last 40 seasons. And, Trae is the only rookie to score 45-plus points and dish out 15-plus assists in a single game.
Now, the race for the Kia Rookie of the Year is on, and Trae is aware his biggest competition is Luka Doncic — the Slovenian powerhouse and the No. 3 pick, who the Hawks traded for him. The move was one that’s proven to benefit the Hawks, and Trae is confident about his rising campaign for ROY.
When the reigning ROY, Ben Simmons was asked who his vote would be during an April 1 interview, he said he’d pick Luka. But, the Sixers point guard, whose ROY run was met with its own scrutiny in competition with Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, may have spoken too soon. Just two days after Ben revealed his pick, Trae went off for 33 pts, 7 rebounds and 12 assists in a 130-122 victory over Ben and his Philadelphia 76ers on April 3. So, was it karma? Luck? — Or maybe, just maybe, it’s Trae being Trae.
The NBA Kia Rookie of the Year is a regular season fan-voted award and will be announced at the 2019 NBA Awards on Monday, June 25. This exclusive episode is from Young Hollywood‘s original series Rookie On The Rise and all episodes can be found at Rookie On The Rise.