Trae Young's first 30-point game had a stat line not seen from a rookie since Steph Curry

·Writer

Games like Sunday might be why the Atlanta Hawks traded back and scooped up Trae Young at the 2018 NBA draft rather than sticking with Luka Doncic with the third overall pick.

In just the third game of his NBA career, the point guard posted the first 30-point game of this year’s NBA rookie class against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. Young ended up finishing with 35 points on 13-of-23 shooting with 11 assists in 38 minutes, all of them team-leading marks.

Thanks to Young’s effort, the Hawks set a franchise record with 22 3-pointers in a 133-111 upset win against the Cavaliers on the road. It was the Hawks’ first win of the season.

Highlights from Trae Young’s first big NBA game

Young got it started early against the Cavs, dropping 18 points in a fiery second quarter that left the Hawks up 64-60 heading into halftime. In total, Young had 21 points in the first half, topping his high for a game from his first two NBA outings.

Young kept it going in the second half, showing off the deep 3-point range that earned him widespread comparisons to Steph Curry during his college career at Oklahoma.

Oh, and he also served up plenty of reminders that he’s pretty good at that passing part of being a point guard, as well.

Young’s big performance should also have been even sweeter given who he was facing, specifically the other highly touted rookie point guard in the game. Collin Sexton, the eighth overall pick in the 2018 draft and the second point guard taken, came up a bit short compared to Young. The Alabama product posted only four points on 2-of-11 shooting.

Trae Young equals Stephen Curry milestone

As it turns out, Young’s performance added up to a stat line that very much validated some of the Curry comparisons.

You can also throw a LeBron James feat into the pile of milestones that Young produced, because why not.

More coming from Trae Young?

Even with his struggles in the latter part of last season with Oklahoma, Young led the entire NCAA in points and assists per game for a reason, and he showed part of that on Sunday.

At his best, Young is a free-shooting, pinpoint-passing delight with astonishing court vision, range and aggression. He was on pace for quite possibly the best freshman season in NCAA history until defenses started keying in on him to an absurd degree, causing Oklahoma to eventually crater. Young settled for leading the league in several categories and raking in All-American honors.

Trae Young showed why the Hawks took a big risk on him on Sunday. (AP Photo)
Trae Young showed why the Hawks took a big risk on him on Sunday. (AP Photo)

Concerns about his frame and how well his freewheeling style would translate to the NBA caused Young to fall just outside of consideration for the draft’s top selections, and those concerns had some people uneasy during an uneven Summer League campaign in which Young averaged 17 points per game on 38 percent shooting.

However, Young is now averaging 23 points and 8.3 assists in his young NBA career. Of course, that’s in only three games against the very subpar competition of the Cavaliers, Grizzlies and Knicks. But just the fact that Young is posting Curry-esque lines like this at only 19 years old has to be very encouraging news for the Hawks

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