In the midst of a breakout campaign, Trae Young was selected as a starter for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, and he was quite busy during All-Star Weekend, participating in the Rising Stars Challenge and Three-Point Contest before putting up a double-double in Sunday’s main event. On Tuesday, however, word broke from Shams Charania of The Athletic that Young was not included when the NBA revealed its selections for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, leaving the Hawks without a representative in the league’s showcase event.
Sources: 2021 NBA All-Star reserves:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 23, 2021
West: Chris Paul, Paul George, Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Zion Williamson, Anthony Davis
East: James Harden, Julius Randle, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Zach LaVine, Ben Simmons, Nikola Vucevic
Shortly after 7:00 pm ET, the NBA made its announcement and confirmed the above list.
Unlike the voting for All-Star starters, which includes a split between fans, media and players, reserves are voted on by coaches around the NBA. Bradley Beal and Kyrie Irving were announced as the starting guards for the Eastern Conference last week, with James Harden, Jaylen Brown and Zach LaVine selected as reserves in the backcourt. Atlanta’s lead guard was not the only notable snub, either, as Khris Middleton, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo were omitted from the list.
Young is the centerpiece of the Hawks, leading the team in both scoring (26.9 points per game) and assists (9.5 per game) this season. While Atlanta’s 13-17 record is not quite what was projected, the team has been plagued by injuries through the first 30 games, and the Hawks are notably better when Young plays than when he is on the bench.
In 974 minutes with Young on the floor, the Hawks out-score their opponents by 2.2 points per possessions, including a lights-out 115.1 offensive rating. When Young is resting, the Hawks are out-scored by 6.5 points per 100 possessions, headlined by a massive dip in the team’s offensive efficiency.
Individually, Young’s counting statistics are obviously impressive, with a top-10 scoring mark and an assist total that ranks near the top of the league. From there, Young is also hyper efficient, shooting 44 percent from the field, 38 percent from three, and 88.5 percent from the line while averaging more than 10 attempts per game. That free throw prowess, combined with a recent hot streak from long distance, leads Young to a career-best 60.8 percent true shooting mark, which is tremendous in any context and doubly impressive when considering his lofty usage.
Young is also making strides as a defensive player, making the best impact he has made through three seasons. That uptick, combined with his tremendous offensive efficiency and Atlanta’s overall team improvement, leads to improved catch-all metrics — Young is a top-20 player in FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR metric, for example — and one could argue he is playing better basketball in 2020-21 than he was last season, despite this snub.
It is worth noting that Young could be added to the All-Star team as an injury replacement at a later date, and he would be a logical candidate, both given his performance level and his proximity to the host site of State Farm Arena. For now, though, the Hawks do not have a player scheduled to participate in an All-Star Game that will occur in their own backyard, and Young certainly has a gripe after being omitted.