On Tuesday morning, to the surprise of absolutely no one, Trae Young declared for the 2018 NBA Draft after spending just one season at Oklahoma. Young announced his decision in a piece that was published on ESPN.com.
"I've been preparing most of my life to join the NBA," Young told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, "and that time has come for me now: After an unforgettable year at the University of Oklahoma, I will enter the June NBA draft and fully immerse myself in the pursuit of a pro basketball career."
Young also sent out this TLDR version of his announcement on Twitter.
In the immediate aftermath of Young’s announcement, there were a lot of NBA fans who took to their Twitter accounts to try and guess where the sharpshooting 19-year-old might land in the draft this season. While Young isn’t expected to go in the top 5 in the draft, he will probably land somewhere towards the beginning of the second half of the draft lottery, which means that, as of right now, he would likely end up with a team like the Bulls, Hornets, or Knicks, based on the current standings. Knicks fans, in particular, sound intrigued at the prospect of landing Young.
But one thing we noticed when skimming through the reactions to Young’s announcement is that there are a lot of people out there who are openly doubting Young and his chances of playing in the NBA. Even though Young has garnered some comparisons to Steph Curry—who, like Young, was doubted early and often at the start of his NBA career—there are apparently many NBA fans who aren’t buying into the hype just yet. They’re tossing around words like "not ready" on social media in response to his announcement.
Young himself predicted there would be a flood of these types of responses in his ESPN.com interview. "I know there will be doubts again as I prepare for the draft," he said.
Young also admitted he knows he’s not ready to play in the NBA just yet. His goals for this summer include "building up strength throughout my body" and "studying the best of the best."
But if the response to his announcement proved anything, it’s that Young’s biggest challenge might be overcoming the naysayers that are already out in full force and positioning themselves between Young and his NBA dreams.
If Young ever struggles to find the motivation to put up an extra 50 shots or 10 more minutes in the weight room this summer, he won’t have to look hard to find it. And if he ever lands an endorsement deal with Nike, Adidas, or Under Armour and has to put together one of those "remember when no one believed in me?" spots, he won’t have to look hard for material for that, either. Just scroll down to see all the doubt that’s being thrown in his direction on what should be one of the best days of his entire life.