Projecting point guard Trae Young isn't easy. But NBA teams seem to be overthinking it.


SportsPulse: USA TODAY’s Trysta Krick makes her predictions for who each of the top-five teams in the upcoming NBA draft will select.

ATLANTA — The next Steph Curry came strolling into an interview after his workout Tuesday with the team that may select him in next week’s NBA Draft. Wait a second, scratch that. According to some pundits, point guard Trae Young will be lucky to be the next Lou Williams. Or maybe the next Shabazz Napier.

It’s been hard to keep up ever since Young became the biggest freshman sensation in college basketball since Kevin Durant, then got the predictable backlash as he wore down toward the end of the season, then resurfaced as anywhere from a possible top-three pick to the guy who could slip in a draft purportedly filled with potential stars. 

As the NBA draft approaches next Thursday, however, no player will generate as many hot takes as Young, who will manage to be either massively overrated or criminally overlooked based on a difference of a mere handful of draft slots. He seems to be, fairly or not, the most polarizing player in the lottery. 

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But in a year where most of the significant arguments in the draft seem to be centered on the potential of some talented big men and whether a teenage European sensation will translate to NBA stardom, isn’t it possible we’re all overthinking this? Is it really so crazy in 2018 to believe Young, who became the first player in NCAA Div. 1 history to lead the nation in points and assists as a 19-year old freshman, just might turn out to be a legitimate star in the NBA?

“I think (my game) actually translates better (in the NBA) because of the spacing and my ability to shoot the ball, pass the ball and get my teammates involved,” Young said after a private workout with the Atlanta Hawks, who have the No. 3 pick. “I just have to continue to play the way I’ve played my whole life and just be different.”

It seems to have gotten lost in the ether over the past few months, but Young is different. Despite arriving at Oklahoma with a relatively anonymous profile (he was the lowest-rated five-star recruit according to Rivals, receiving only a fraction of the hype attached to Michael Porter or Marvin Bagley), it took only a handful of games for Young to establish himself as the most electrifying freshman in years. 

For two solid months, he was must-watch television, carrying the undermanned Sooners to huge wins while racking up 30-point games, 40-point games, attempting shots only Curry regularly makes in the NBA while also showing off a flair for fancy ballhandling and passing that was just flat-out fun. 


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