Trae Young is going to be forever linked to Luka Doncic because of an infamous draft-day trade. Given Doncic and Young, Skip Bayless will take the latter.
The Hawks star dropped an incredible stat line of 48 points and 11 assists in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, leading Atlanta to a thrilling 116-113 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Young’s performance in these playoffs has been downright historic at times. When you look at how far Young has made it in the playoffs versus how far Doncic made it, it’s easy to say that Young has been better. Of course, there’s more to the argument than just these playoffs, but this run is enough to convince Skip Bayless.
Trae Young is showing me more in bigger moments than Luka has managed to even get to. The Hawks feed off Trae’s spark and swag in ways I don’t think the Mavericks feed off Luka. More @Undisputed, now on FS1 https://t.co/or7YcbKTyP
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) June 24, 2021
Does Skip have a point? Recency bias may have us looking at Young and believing that he’s been better than Doncic, but there’s so much else to consider when considering an argument of this nature.
Is Trae Young Better Than Luka Doncic?
The Hawks guard has enjoyed the limelight this season as he’s led Atlanta to an improbable Conference Finals appearance.
Atlanta has managed to pull upset after upset off in this playoff run. They humiliated the number four seeded New York Knicks in 5 games, then they ripped the hearts out of Philadelphia when they beat them in 7 games.
Now, they’re up 1-0 on the Milwaukee Bucks. Meanwhile, Luka Doncic and the Mavericks were bounced in the first round after blowing a 2-0 lead to the Los Angeles Clippers.
This is why many fans are jumping at the thought that Doncic is worse than Trae Young. However, to properly understand this argument, we have to look at both players’ entire body of work.
For one, this Young’s first playoff appearance. Granted, he’s taken the Hawks farther than Doncic has ever taken the Mavericks, but Luka also plays in a much tougher Western Conference.
Additionally, Doncic’s averages of 25.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg, and 7.7 apg represent a more well rounded stat-line than Young’s 24.1, 3.9, and 8.9. However, Young undoubtedly shoots the ball better than Doncic, being a bigger threat from anywhere on the court.
However, both of these players have been so incredibly successful early on, that it’s hard to gauge who’s better. For now, the answer is probably that they’re both the best players for their respective teams, and that they’re both the perfect players for their team.
Would Luka have been electric on the Hawks? Sure. Would Young have lit up the league on the Mavericks? Probably. However, they aren’t on those teams. They’re ideal for their current teams, and the way both Atlanta and Dallas is set up right now caters perfectly to both their games.
If Young can make the Finals this year, and even potentially win it, a lot of people will be eager to place him above Doncic. While he may have the edge because of the weight that a Finals win has, don’t discount Luka’s ability to get there one day too.
What’s more exciting, and what the bigger takeaway from all this discussion should be, is that the NBA is in good hands. If we’re already able to have legacy defining questions about Trae Young and Luka Doncic in their third years, then we’re dealing with some truly generational talent. That’s something to smile about.