Memo to Trae Young: Make ‘em
Take this as a sign of
disrespect, young man. Their names are Nash, Rivers, Spoelstra,
Stevens, Budenholzer, Donovan, Casey, Nurse, Borrego, Clifford,
Thibodeau, Bickerstaff, Bjorkgren and Brooks. Print out their
photographs, make yourself a “WANTED” poster and tape it to the
ceiling of your bedroom. You will see them in your sleep that
way, and they will cause you many a restive night.
And that will make you
And that anger will then channel
into passion and production.
And on the receiving end of your
venom will be the 14 coaches who may or may not have voted for you.
Nobody outside of NBA headquarters knows for sure exactly which of
those 14 guys left you off their All-Star ballots, but enough of
them did so that they must pay collectively.
Your career-high is 50 points.
Ask yourself: ”Is this the best I can do?”
Because you know it isn’t.
Nobody in the NBA has made more free throws than you this season.
Nobody aside from LeBron James has more 20-point, 10-assist games
over the past three seasons than you, and LeBron only leads you by
one, 56-55. No player in NBA history ever got to 400 3-pointers
quicker than you did (159 games). Only Michael Jordan, Shaquille
O’Neal and LeBron have had more 40-point games in their first three
seasons than you, kiddo.
So when the All-Star game is
played in your home arena and you are not among the 24 “best”
players in the NBA, let it eat you, Trae. Watch closely. They left
you out -- maybe because your team is 11th in
the Eastern Conference, maybe because you play for a woebegone
franchise that hasn’t been all that good over a sustained period of
time since Dominique Wilkins was lacing ‘em up. Maybe it was the
sub-44 percent shooting percentage.
Channel it, young
The snub of Young was the most
glaring omission Tuesday night as the NBA All-Star reserves were
announced, and it is not surprising that several very, very
good players got left off. That’s what happens when the sides
consist of 12 players each. The math works against a bunch of guys,
and this year those players are named DeMar DeRozan, Bam Adebayo,
Devin Booker and Domantas Sabonis. There are four first-timers:
Jaylen Brown, Zach LaVine, Julius Randle and Zion Williamson. None
of them are undeserving. Again, it’s just the math.
But Young’s absence is still the
most glaring omission because he is eighth in the league in scoring
and third in assists, that latter stat a tribute to his
unselfishness. The Hawks have had a tough month, going 3-7 heading
into Tuesday night’s game against the Cavs, and given that their
young trio of Young, Clint Capela and John Collins was accentuated
by the offseason additions of veterans Rajon Rondo, Danilo
Gallinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic, bigger and better things were
expected (injuries have been a factor, of course).
Each omission is glaring in its
own particular way. DeRozan plays for a Spurs team that nobody
expected to be sitting in sixth place in the Western Conference.
Booker is scoring more than 24 points per game and shooting above
50 percent for a Phoenix Suns team that is the NBA’s most pleasant
surprise. Yes, Chris Paul was deserving, but so was his backcourt
partner. The Suns are 20-10 and fourth in the West, and it will surprise absolutely no
one if Booker is named an injury replacement for Anthony Davis.
Sabonis is a one-man show for an Indiana Pacers team that traded
away Victor Oladipo, but is a virtual lock to make the
There is nobody from the Miami
Heat, who made it to last year’s NBA Finals, and you can be fairly
certain that Pat Riley got on the phone with Adebayo and Jimmy
Butler and had a few choice inspirational words Tuesday night.
There is nobody from the Toronto Raptors, who are sacrificing like
no other NBA team, playing every single one of their games on the
road, for all intents and purposes. Khris Middleton is the most
conspicuously absent member of the Bucks; same for Tobias Harris of
the first-place Sixers.
They are all snubs … but Young
is the biggest snub of them all, especially with the game being
played in Atlanta.
Let’s hope Trae gets this memo.
We all expected better from the Hawks, and maybe this will help
them get where they should be. The NBA needs another “it” team, and
the Hawks were supposed to be that team. There is a lot of the
regular season left, plenty of time for somebody to do exactly what
the Heat did in the bubble last summer – surprise
The 22-year-old is best known as
the player traded for Luka Doncic on draft night. But that will
change over time once Young becomes an established winner. He is
not there yet, and maybe he needed a kick in the pants.
Those 14 East coaches may have
just delivered it.