2018 Pick Number 6 – Trae Young
Height – 6’2”
Weight – 180 lbs
Age – 19 years and 9 months
Wingspan – 6’2”
Position – Point Guard / Shooting Guard
Strengths – Lights-out shooter with good handles/passing, & quickness
Weaknesses – Size and defensive effectiveness
NBA comp – Steph Curry’s style
If this makes any sense, we know what to expect from Trae Young, but at the same time, we don’t know how effective it will translate to the NBA. In college, he looked like Steph Curry, which is what his game most closely compares to, but Curry is the best-case scenario (which is great). It’s why he is mocked sixth to the Orlando Magic.
The floor is Jimmer Fredette, and his career didn’t end up like Steph’s (bold statement). In China it did, but that is the risk you’re taking when you draft a player that is undersized and only effective on one end of the floor. If he can create separation, get open looks, and move well off-ball, he’ll do just fine. Long story shortened, if Trae Young is a liability on the defensive end, he’ll need to be phenomenal on the offensive end in order to stick in the NBA.
Why it makes sense for Orlando
The Magic have been built from the inside out. Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vicevic, Bismack Biyombo, and Jonathan Isaac (assuming Gordon stays in Orlando) make up their power
forward and center rotation, while Evan Fournier, Terrance Ross, and Jonathon Simmons (with Mario Hezonja becoming a free agent) carry a heavy scoring burden.
The addition of Trae Young would be perfect for the Magic, as it would space the floor for their bigs and give Orlando a lethal threat on the perimeter with Fournier. Young would probably be the starting point guard on day one, and it would be his job to lose.
Young averaged 27.4 points in 35.4 minutes at Oklahoma, his freshman season. While he put up a volume of points, he didn’t do it with crazy-efficient numbers. He shot 42.2 percent from the field, 36 percent from three, and it seemed like it should have been much higher. He was the guy at Oklahoma, which is why he took 10.3 three pointers a game.
Scoring aside, there is good news and bad news regarding the other part of his offensive game. Sure, he averaged 8.7 assists per game, but he also turned the ball over 5.2 times. Those numbers are mostly due to his unreal usage rate of 37.1 percent.
In the NBA, he will need to do a better job taking care of the ball. If he’s the starting point guard, it will be he is job to run the offense and not just jack up three pointers. He had a 28.3 PER at Oklahoma and I’m sure Orlando would appreciate that number as well.
This could be Trae Young’s undoing. The NBA is a cruel monster. Players will find others’ weaknesses and expose them. Young could be a victim just as many times as he’s the one doing damage on the offensive end.
His on-ball defense is below average and his 6’2” wingspan limits his ability to make up for his height. He averaged 1.7 steals in 32 collegiate games. If he can find a way to cut off passing lanes and display a brains-over-abilities playing style on defense, it’ll work out for Orlando.
As independent as Trae Young is on offense, he will be dependent on defense. The Orlando Magic will need to allow Young to take over the offense. Selecting a player like him sixth is their way of telling the world that this is his team now. Their first-round pick last year, Jonathan Isaac, is not a score-first player, so there will not be a conflict of interest.
With Young in the driver seat, he will need to act the part. He cannot be shy. If he is, he is limiting his purpose in the NBA, because he sure as hell is not in the league to pass or defend. There is bust potential picking him sixth, but at the very least, the hope is that he will have the effectiveness of Lou Williams off the bench, but you do not draft a bench player sixth.