Basketball players of any kind rely on smart shots and fundamentals. Trae Young helps me believe you can build your skillset to an unseen level

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PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons


By Christian Eubanks

I cannot start any NBA player argument —- a point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, or center —- without mentioning little Trae Young. There are the obvious choices: Stephen Curry, great shooter; Lebron James, all time great scorer; Ja Morant, great in the paint. But what about those occasions that require a great facilitater and scorer?


I'm speaking, of course, of well timed, needle threading passes. Trae Young is not just one type of player, but, in fact, is two types of players combined, which compares and goes back to a player for the Suns named Steve Nash. Nash was a point guard for the Phoenix Suns during a more “less soft” period of the NBA, when old-head referees were giving way to more violent conflicts between players. His abilities on the court resemble a more complete version of what the point guard position actually was, scoring and passing. This inspired many upcoming players to build their skill levels the Steve Nash way, beating out all of them was young Trae Young.


Whether it is Trae Young, Steve Nash, or somebody else, these players share a few central characteristics. Their jumpshots — the quick release on their strokes — are often highly arched to get the shot over the defender. They have low wingspans — complementing their height like a tall person with a big wingspan, and, obviously, their vision on the court — and high iq in games like the playoffs.


Trae Young is great, and yet he still has somewhat of a bad reputation on the court. His low level defense on the court and constant foul drawing make for what many find a great player, but these features make him make bad decisions on the court and make him a liability on the defensive end of the court. When Trae “draws a foul” he typically throws his body into other players, creating contact and the referee can’t do anything else but blow the whistle. When others see this, some see greatness, and others see a flopping point guard doing non-basketball plays. Either way, Trae gets his two free throws. There's a stereotype associated with the sort of person who’s favorite player is Trae Young. When playing casually with friends, they will take really deep ill advised shots like Trae Young. His impact on the court taking these really deep shots puts in the mind of basketball players all around the world that it is smart to shoot from way behind the three-point line. It’s surprising that Trae Young’s play has developed a different type of way to play basketball, using his small height and range.


As a huge NBA fan, I spend hours each week analyzing players on the ESPN app to see how they are playing among other players in the NBA. Players are rarely able to keep up with Trae’s play, this emphasizes his role in the NBA because he stands at only 6’1 and averages 28.6 points per game and 9.7 assists. You can categorize a player with any stat, but Trae's deep shooting and pin-point passing creates something more fun — a show for us. Trae Young is a showman, with his deep shooting and facilitating, he creates a more exciting and fun game to watch for everyone watching. The best example of this is his playoff series against the New York Knicks in 2021. Knicks fans chanted a profanity every time he had the basketball in his hands. He countered these chants by hitting a game winner at the buzzer silencing everyone in the Arena.