On a nightly basis, Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young is under the microscope. While the rookie guard from Oklahoma has experienced highs and lows in his first professional season, Young was awarded with quite an honor on Monday, as the No. 5 overall pick was named Eastern Conference Player of the Month.
As noted in the official release, Young’s award covers both October and November and he is the first member of the Hawks organization to win the Rookie of the Month honor since Ivan Johnson (!) in April 2012. Unquestionably, Young benefits from most of the top NBA rookies, headlined by Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Deandre Ayton, operating in the Western Conference, but he did post per-game averages of 15.6 points and 7.6 assists combined in October and November.
Efficiency has been an issue for Young in the early going, including a meager 24.8 percent from beyond the three-point arc. In addition, Young’s defense has come under fire with good reason, as the diminutive guard isn’t treated well in advanced metrics despite a relative uptick in effort when compared to his collegiate performance.
On the whole, it would be difficult to argue that Young has been a disappointment, however, and he does have the most prominent role of any rookie in the Eastern Conference. It remains to be seen as to whether other challengers like Chicago’s Wendell Carter Jr. or Charlotte’s Miles Bridges will push Young for future awards in this particular category but, in taking a step back, it comes as no surprise that he would claim this particular award.
With Doncic winning on the other side and other rookies like Jackson Jr. flourishing elsewhere, Young won’t be stepping out of the spotlight anytime soon. It will be intriguing to monitor his progress throughout the campaign but, at the very least, the 20-year-old now boasts a piece of league-wide hardware.