Spurs Prospect Watch: Trae Young

PORTLAND, OR - NOVEMBER 26: Troy Brown #0 of the Oregon Ducks and Trae Young #11 of the Oklahoma Sooners battle for a loose ball as Khadeem Lattin #3 of the Oklahoma Sooners looks on during the first half of the game during the PK80-Phil Knight Invitational presented by State Farm at the Moda Center on November 26, 2017 in Portland, Oregon. Oklahoma won the game 90-80. Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

The San Antonio Spurs are on pace for over 50 wins and that should mean a playoff spot. And of course, a playoff berth means a lower pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. That brings us to our weekly prospect watch, which gets Spurs fans ready for a slew of potential draft picks the team might take.

This week’s prospect is Oklahoma’s Trae Young. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound freshman point guard is possibly the most electric scorer in the Big 12 if not the country and is an absolute joy to watch every time he’s on the court. He leads the country in scoring and player efficiency, so not only is he good at putting the ball in the hoop, but he can obviously do so efficiently.

Here are his ridiculous stats so far this season:

  • 28.8 PPG, 8.8 APG, 2.3 SPG
  • 47.9 FG%, 37.7 3P%
  • 129.7 ORtg, 101.7 DRtg
  • 36.5 Player Efficiency Rating

Young has been compared to Steve Nash for the way he handles the ball and seems to find guys a step or two ahead of the defense, as well as Stephen Curry for his unreal range and shooting ability. He’s also gotten a J.J. Barea comparison for his willingness to get to the bucket and unwavering confidence despite looking small to others. So now that you know what we’re dealing with, we can really dive into his profile.

The freshman was originally a five-star recruit that turned down the likes of Kansas and other big name powerhouses to stay at home in Oklahoma — he’s actually from Norman too — and he has been given the reigns of the offense right away. He’s a starter and has shown that he can handle the offense given to him to run by former NBA coach Lon Kruger. He is top-five in the country in assists, so it’s not like he’s just a pure gunner at the point guard position. This does give him an advantage though as defenders have to respect his range and when they get too close to guard him, he can blow right by or make a move to get where he wants.

Young was initially thought to be a two-year player, but with the way he has exploded onto the scene and proven that he’s more than just an excellent shooter, he has shot himself onto mock draft boards. Right now, he is still projected to go late in the first round where the Spurs would have a chance to grab him, but he could end up shooting up draft boards if he keeps performing like this. He hasn’t had any bad games yet with his lowest scoring performance being his first game where he scored 15 against Nebraska-Omaha.

Should the freshman declare for the draft after this season he would make for a valuable addition to any team. The main concern with him is that he can only guard one position and has a short wingspan (6-foot-4) at his height. However, he’s not just a skinny, lean short guy as he would likely just need to add about 10 pounds of muscle to really be able to handle his own on the defensive end of the court.

Young is exciting to watch at the very least and should be on Spurs fans’ radars as he’s pretty close by and is an easy watch on television. And he’s going to light up pretty much every arena he walks into and can go off for an explosive night any time.


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