It’s been a bit of a slow start to the 2023-24 season for Trae Young, but he came to play against the Magic.
The two-time All-Star led the Hawks to victory with a season-best 41 points on 12-for-27 shooting from the field. He was much more effective in the first half than the second half, but he still made the biggest play of the night by setting up Dejounte Murray’s game-winning 3.
Young’s final assist was notable for a few reasons. The first (and most obvious) is that it helped the Hawks win the game to improve to 5-3 on the young season. The second is that the pass went viral because of how ridiculous it was. The third is that it put Young’s basketball genius on full display.
Let’s take a closer look because it deserves a deeper dive.
The details behind Trae Young’s viral wraparound passes
The Magic lead 119-117 with 42.8 seconds remaining in the game.
The five players on the court for the Magic are Jalen Suggs, Markelle Fultz, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero and Jonathan Isaac, leaving them without a traditional center despite the Hawks having Clint Capela in the lineup.
Suggs starts the possession on Young, but Banchero switches onto him when Jalen Johnson sets a screen.
Young is too quick for Banchero and leaves him in the dust.
Here’s where Young’s genius comes into play.
Young had a wraparound pass go viral earlier in the season. (Click here if you happened to miss it.) When asked about it after the game, Young shared that he’s not looking at the person defending him in those situations. He’s instead looking at what’s going on behind his defender.
“I’m always looking at the help man, the defender behind him,” he explained. “So for me, I drove by mine and I seen the help guy come over and another help guy about to take the big man. And so for me, it’s that next person. I have to be able to throw it blindly. That’s just the trust I have with my teammates that they’re gonna be there for me.”
You can see that exact same thought process play out here.
With Banchero in the rearview, Isaac has to slide off of Capela to protect the rim. (Remember, Young finished with 41 points in this game. Even though he cooled off in the second half, the Magic probably didn’t want him to be the one scoring.)
With Capela being a lob threat and Young being one of the best in the league at making that pass, Fultz has to drop down to prevent Capela from getting a dunk.
Young even fakes the lob pass to Capela as he leaves his feet to get Isaac in the air and force Fultz to commit.
I mean, look at this sorcery:
That’s just mean.
It’s now on Suggs to rotate off of Johnson, a career 29.3 percent 3-pointer shooter, at the top of the perimeter to cover for Fultz, but he can take his time because there’s no way Young can see Murray through the trees, and there’s absolutely no way he could get off a somewhat accurate pass even if he did, right?
Here’s a replay of the pass to appreciate it in all its glory:
Trae ⏩ Dejounte
— NBA (@NBA) November 10, 2023
Young says he does practice that, by the way.
“I’ve practiced that pass so many times that I know where it should be and how high it should be. Some would call it luck on how it got there into his chest, but I really work on those type of things. I do have a lot of trust in my teammates being in those positions, too.
“That’s how you know we’re getting better and having a really good offense.”
Young has already pulled it off a few times this season. You should probably expect more to come.
Source : ESPN.com