Following the 2018 NBA Draft, Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young was seen, at least by odds-makers, as a top-five candidate for NBA Rookie of the Year. However, the betting market now projects a few players selected after him in June (Kevin Knox and Collin Sexton) to land ahead of him and that is backed up by a recent ROY forecast from ESPN.
On Monday, a panel from the worldwide leader voted Young as the No. 8 candidate and Mike Schmitz said the following:
Young is a candidate to take home ROY honors because of his skill and expected opportunity to play for a Hawks team that isn’t in a hurry to win games. Though Clippers rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander might be a better long-term prospect, Young’s logo-distance range and stellar passing should make for some monster performances, regardless of his defense amd efficiency as a rookie point guard.
Though ESPN’s write-up lists Young at “No. 7” overall, it is important to note that a tie exists for the No. 6 spot, meaning Young actually ranks at No. 8 overall. In addition to the four players (Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley, Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson) drafted ahead of Young, the trio of Knox, Sexton and Wendell Carter Jr. all received more voting love in this instance.
While it would be tough to argue that Young’s ceiling isn’t significantly higher than some ranked ahead of him, the presence of Jeremy Lin complicates matters when it comes to Young’s theoretical ROY pursuit. It is safe to expect that Young will play a prominent role (given the draft investment) but Lin is being paid handsomely to contribute and, while the duo can play together, Young’s playing time and role aren’t quite as clear as some other rookies.
Hawks fans will undoubtedly see this as a slight and, in some ways, that is justified. In the end, though, Young will have a clear path to ROY contention if he plays well, simply because the counting numbers will almost certainly follow.