Since his freshman year in college, Trae Young has been known for his impressive scoring stats and outrageous shooting range, but he tells Mark Medina of USA Today that he won’t be happy until his team starts winning. Young has averaged 23.6 PPG during his first two NBA seasons, but the Hawks have finished last in the Southeast Division both years with a combined record of 49-100.
“I hate the narrative of just being a scorer and a stats person,” Young said. “Stats don’t mean anything. I don’t want that narrative to be I’m all about stats because I’m not. For me, stats is the last thing I’m bringing up. I’m all about winning.”
With a strong collection of young talent in place, Atlanta may be ready to take a step forward next season. The Hawks added center Clint Capela – who was sidelined by injury after being acquired from the Rockets at the trade deadline – and could have as much as $50MM to spend in free agency. As one of the eight teams not invited to Orlando, Atlanta may go 10 months or more without playing in an actual game, but Young doesn’t expect the layoff to be a factor.
“It won’t affect me at all,” he said. “I know my body and how hard I can push it and where maybe I can slow down. I know when we’re going to be playing. I know it’s going to be a couple of months from now. So I won’t overload my body now. I’ll be smart and continue to get better and focus on that.”
There’s more on the Hawks:
- Atlanta owns the sixth pick in the November 18 draft, and general manager Travis Schlenk is open to another draft-night deal, Medina adds in the same story. Schlenk has been involved in significant trades during the past two drafts, bringing in Young and De’Andre Hunter.
- Capela was thrilled to finally be able to practice with his new team as the Hawks gathered for camp this week, writes Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He is now fully recovered from a heel injury that he suffered in January while still with the Rockets. The Hawks diagnosed it as a right calcaneus contusion/plantar fasciitis, and although Capela believed he was ready to go in June, league rules prevented him from doing anything beyond individual workouts. “It honestly felt a little bit weird at the beginning, being on drills with everybody, cheering, everybody just being with everybody and being involved,” Capela said. “It honestly felt really great. It felt good going through drills, being vocal. I couldn’t wait. It’s been a very, very long time. So I’m really enjoying it right now.”
- In case you missed it, Skal Labissiere, who was also kept out of action by an injury after being acquired by Atlanta in February, hopes to return to the team next season.