The young Hawks point guard had fans agog when he first started pulling up from deep at Oklahoma during his lone freshman season in the NCAA, and the comparisons to the sharpshooting Warriors MVP were inevitable. However, through his first 25 games, Young is shooting an abysmal 23.9 percent from beyond the arc, and an atrocious 37.7 percent overall from the field. It's those numbers that have Young confused by how he's still being defended, as he told Candance Buckner of The Washington Post following a 131-117 loss to the Wizards on Wednesday night.
"I mean, it’s crazy. It’s crazy," Young said. "My shooting percentage is so bad right now and teams are still pressing up on me just like I was shooting 80 percent."
Perhaps defenses are keyed on him so far from the basket because he's already taken a league-leading 47 shots from 28-plus feet. "It just shows a sign of respect for the level of shooting ability and what I can do outside the arc," Young told the WaPo. "That means teams still believe I can do what I was capable of doing, what I’ve been doing my whole life."
Wizards guard Austin Rivers, who started in place of John Wall on Wednesday, explained how Young's deeper three pointers are considered the equivalent of a dunk, but with an extra point because of how they can emotionally uplift a team by its distance.
"He’s 23 percent but I treat him like he’s fucking Steph or Dame [Lillard] or whoever’s out there," Rivers said. "Because of the shots he shoots, even the deep threes, it’s like a momentum builder. Everybody goes crazy because of how deep he shoots it. So it’s like more than three points because if he hits one of those, the crowd starts going crazy."
Despite Young falling off towards the end of his first college season, new Hawks GM Travis Schlenk bet big on him when he made a deal to send Luke Doncic to the Mavs in exchange for Young and a future, protected first-rounder. So far, the results are decided tepid, but maybe Young's percentages tick up when defenders can longer hound him 30-plus feet from the basket. Despite how poorly he's shot the ball in his rookie campaign, he was the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for November.