Is the Hawks’ Trae Young the NBA’s newest coach killer?

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When some extent guard averages 27 factors and 10 assists, you have to be speaking about one in all the finest in the recreation. Trae Young is that dude. He has solidified himself as one in all the most deadly scorers in the NBA. He is called a shooter, with some going so far as evaluating him to Steph Curry. We all know he can rating, however Young’s perimeter taking pictures prowess is overrated, as he’s solely a 35 % shooter from three in his profession and is presently on monitor for a 32 % taking pictures proportion this season.

That being stated, to go away him open is to ask hazard, particularly at the finish of video games. Young can rating on all three ranges. He’s one in all the finest guards in the NBA, interval.

Tension between Young and head coach Nate McMillan

But, currently, there was a specter hanging over the Atlanta Hawks franchise, and it has to do with Young’s future with the crew. The pressure between Young and head coach Nate McMillan has been nicely chronicled. It’s been brewing for some time now. The Hawks presently sit at 24-23, a recreation over .500, a disappointment after including All-Star Dejounte Murray over the summer season. Murray and Young have performed nicely collectively, whereas counting on a my-turn/your-turn scheme on offense. For them to take the subsequent step as a duo, Young might want to discover ways to be simply as efficient off-ball whereas letting Murray cook dinner on-ball.

But including a triple-double risk in Murray has not produced a greater on-court product in Atlanta. At least not but, anyway. And a lot of the consideration has been on Young this season and his capability (or incapability) to make his teammates higher. The pressure has bubbled to the floor this season, with Young and McMillan’s relationship getting so dangerous head coach thought-about retirement. Hawks CEO Steve Koonin went on the radio to rapidly dispel the rumor McMillan may depart, however afterward, McMillan himself hinted at retirement after this season.

But this is not Young’s first run-in with a coach. Lloyd Pierce solely lasted three seasons in Atlanta and was fired after the crew began 14-20 in the 2020 – 2021 season. McMillan, at the time an assistant ready in the wings, took over and guided the Hawks to a 27-11 end. Once in the playoffs, they rapidly dispatched the Knicks in the first spherical as the fifth seed, earlier than upsetting the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in the second spherical and reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2014-15, the place they misplaced to the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks in six video games. Young wasn’t the just one who took umbrage with Pierce’s teaching model. John Collins and Cam Reddish each complained about taking part in time and utilization. But the butting of heads between the crew’s coach and celebrity finally did Pierce in.

Whose facet is the locker room on?

Pierce misplaced the locker room over time, together with his schemes and rotations, somewhat than heated locker room shouting matches. Part of it was his public criticism Young’s taking part in model, which concerned a variety of baiting officers into garnering favorable calls. This model of play pressured the league to institute a rule change on foul calling, limiting Young’s effectiveness on this space. Young was one in all the finest at this, a lot to the chagrin of his coach, who routinely made a problem of it to the press. No matter how usually the two met privately to attempt to get again on the similar web page, Pierce’s firing appeared inevitable.

At the time of Pierce’s dismissal, Young was solely in his third season, and it was uncommon for a neophyte to have such energy inside the group. That was solely exaggerated when McMillan stepped in, and the Hawks reached the Conference Finals, making it obvious that selecting Young over Pierce was the proper transfer. Reaching the Conference Finals will do this. But the season after, the Hawks had been embarrassed in the first spherical by the Heat in 5 video games. Young was particularly dismal. After averaging 28.8 ppg in the earlier yr’s playoffs, he might solely muster 15.4 ppg on absurdly dangerous taking pictures splits of 32/18/79. Yuck.

Where does Atlanta go from right here?

But now that Young is beefing with McMillan too (a lot so that somebody like Shams Charina is tweeting that he’s contemplating retirement), the notion is altering round Young as a franchise cornerstone. There are apparent points round his protection. And there’s something to be stated a few participant thought-about one in all the finest shooters in the league, solely hitting 35 % of his pictures in his profession. But now that they’ve added one other All-Star alongside him, the crew not making any aggressive development record-wise appears to be like even worse. There’s a authentic discourse available that Young would not make his teammates higher. Just take a look at how Kevin Huerter has unlocked one other facet to his recreation since leaving Atlanta for Sacramento this summer season.

That’s not taking something away from Young’s capability to place the ball in the basket. He is one in all the finest in the recreation at that. But making your teammates higher, rising your recreation for profitable, and being a pupil of the recreation are all qualities of a celebrity. Young is actually one statistically, however popularity is a special story. If he can’t restore the relationship with McMillan, a well-respected head coach for 19 seasons, Young will tackle the notorious mantle of “coach killer.” It’s been some time since we have had one. LeBron James escaped the label early in his profession when he realized to belief Erik Spoelstra after Miami questioning if he was the proper coach to steer the Heatles.

If Young would not change his method with McMillan, he may very well be accountable for banishing two head coaches in 5 seasons. We all know Young can rating. But can he lead? And extra importantly, in terms of his coach, can he observe?

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