Trae Young’s 10 Best Games of His NBA Career
On May 12th, the Atlanta Hawks clinched a playoff spot with a 120-116 win over the Washington Wizards. This marks the first playoff appearance for the Hawks since the 2016-17 season. Trae Young, the best player and the leader of this Hawks team, will be playing his first playoff basketball. Let’s take a look at Trae Young‘s 10 best games he has had so far in his young career.
Ranking Trae Young’s 10 Best Games
Trae Young has already put up several ridiculous stat lines through his first three seasons. This includes 46 games of 30 or more points, 15 games of 40 or more points, and 13 games of 15 or more assists. It is difficult to pinpoint his 10 best games and arrange them, as they are definitely interchangeable based on your criteria. Without further adieu, here is my list of Trae Young’s 10 best games.
10. February 21st, 2021, vs. Denver Nuggets – Smooth Operation
Trae finished this game with 35 points, 15 assists, and six rebounds in an eight-point win over Denver. He shot efficiently: 50 percent on two-pointers and four of seven from three-point range. He has definitely had flashier stat lines that could have made this 10th spot. However, I believe this is one of Trae Young’s 10 best games because this performance epitomizes his playstyle contributing to winning basketball.
His scoring was great, hitting his patented floaters as well as a couple of deep three-pointers. His facilitating was even better, hence the 15 assists. Through his scoring gravity, he was setting up his teammates with great looks: lobs to John Collins and Clint Capela and drive-and-kicks to open three-point shooters. Overall, this was a very complete game from Trae.
9. January 8th, 2020, vs. Houston Rockets – 40 Point Triple-Double
In this game, Trae and James Harden both had 40 point triple-doubles! This was the first time in NBA history that two players had 40-point triple-doubles in the same game. Trae also became the first player in Hawks’ history to record a 40-point triple-double. Trae notched 42 points, 10 assists, and a career-high 13 rebounds for his third ever triple-double. His scoring was relatively inefficient, but shooting 16 for 18 from the foul line helped boost his overall efficiency for the game. Unfortunately, the Hawks suffered a seven-point loss, but Trae had a plus-minus of plus four.
8. January 20th, 2020, vs. Toronto Raptors – Taking Command
Trae finished this outing with 42 points, 15 assists, and six rebounds in a 122-117 loss. He shot 55 percent from the field and made 18 free throws, which resulted in an impressive 71.8 percent true shooting. What really stood out about this performance was Trae’s resilience. He took the driver’s seat and put the team on his back, scoring 18 fourth-quarter points. Atlanta was trailing by 19 with four minutes remaining. However, they lost the game by just five.
The Raptors did not have an answer for Trae, particularly in the fourth quarter. He was getting to the rim at will and finishing amongst the trees. He also hit a ridiculous contested stepback three-pointer with 1:40 remaining. The Raptors won this game because they essentially neutralized the rest of the Hawks; this was no fault of Trae’s.
7. March 1st, 2019, vs. Chicago Bulls – Quadruple OT
Trae Young put up his most impressive performance of his rookie year in this game. Trae finished with 49 points, 16 assists, and eight rebounds on 51.5 percent shooting from the field, and he drained six three-pointers. He became the third rookie in the last 40 years to post at least 40 points and 10 assists in a game. The other two to do so are Michael Jordan and LeBron James. This was with defensive pest, Kris Dunn, who matched up on him often. Without co-star John Collins, Trae fought to bring this game to a whopping four overtimes!
Trae was amazing, particularly in the clutch. Across the fourth quarter and first overtime, Trae scored 29 points with only three missed shots, as well as seven assists. He nailed a three-pointer with 2.2 seconds left in regulation to give the Hawks the lead. Then in overtime, he hit a layup to tie the game with one second left. However, Atlanta would go on to lose this game by seven. Trae was not able to contribute as much in overtimes two, three, and four. For these reasons, I could not rank this amazing performance any higher.
6. February 9th, 2020, vs. New York Knicks – OT Comeback
Trae posted 48 points, 13 assists, and two steals in a double-overtime win over the Knicks. His 48 points included six made three-pointers, and he shot 16 for 16 on free throws. The Hawks went ice cold in the fourth quarter and the start of overtime. With 1:30 left in the first overtime and Atlanta down eight, Trae flipped a switch.
He hit a 15-foot jumper, a layup, and two free throws over the span of 90 seconds. The game then went to second overtime; Trae scored 11 points, leading the Hawks to victory. He drew fouls at will, scoring eight points at the line on eight attempts. This game was just another example of Trae’s resilience. When the team was facing maximum adversity, he simply took the game over.
5. January 30th, 2020, vs. Philadelphia 76ers – 18 Assists
This outing cracks the top five not only because Trae had a career-high in assists, but also because he took down some heavy competition in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons‘ 76ers. Ben Simmons is known to be the cream of the crop in terms of the perimeter, man-to-man defense. He was not able to slow Trae too much on this night. Trae’s stats looked like 39 points, 18 assists, six rebounds, and two steals. Once again, he was drawing fouls non-stop, getting 20 free-throw attempts and making 18 of them.
His extreme scoring gravity allowed him to set his teammates up with wide-open looks. He was running the pick-and-roll to perfection, and he was hitting jump-shooters at the right times. Trae really set the tone early by netting the first-quarter double-double of 14 points and 10 assists. He followed this up with a 15-point second-quarter, totaling to a 29-point first half. He kept his foot on the gas for the second half to lead Atlanta to a surprising 127-117 win. Trae finished as a game-high +17.
4. November 12th, 2019, vs. Denver Nuggets – Making History
Trae had the second most efficient game of his career in this 125-121 win over the Nuggets. He tallied 42 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds. With this performance, Trae became the youngest player in NBA history to record three consecutive games of at least 30 points and 10 assists.
His shooting was exceptional this game–five of eight from the field and eight of 13 on three-pointers. This equates to an unbelievable 81.3 percent true shooting. He attempted multiple shots from well behind the three-point line, making his efficiency even more impressive. Trae had an amazing highlight when he dribbled between Will Barton‘s legs into an open mid-range jump shot. He went on to close his historic night with a 15-point fourth-quarter and a Hawks win without John Collins.
3. December 23rd, 2020, vs. Chicago Bulls – Historic Efficiency
Trae has had so many games with over 40 points or 15 assists. It would probably come as a surprise that I have a 37-point, seven-assist performance in the top three. However, Trae Young was absolutely dominant in this game. It was on the opening night of his third season, and he made a strong statement.
Trae’s 37 points came in just 26 minutes of action. He shot five of six on two-pointers, five of six on three-pointers, and 12 of 14 on free throws. Scoring 37 points on just 12 field-goal attempts is unfathomable. He posted a 101.9 percent true shooting, breaking the metric. The Hawks blew out the Bulls by twenty, and Trae had a plus/minus of +30. This performance is exactly how you want to start your third season.
2. February 20th, 2020, vs. Miami Heat – The 50-Point Game
In just his second season, Trae had his first 50-point game. It came against a Miami Heat team with fantastic individual defenders in Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Andre Iguodala. He became the fourth-youngest player in league history to score at least 50 points in a game. To go along with 50 points, Trae tallied eight assists, eight made three-pointers, and two steals. His jump-shooting was excellent: 53.3 percent on three-pointers and 94.7 percent on free throws. His true shooting was 74.9 percent.
Once again, the best part of Trae’s performance is his play in the fourth quarter and the clutch. After Atlanta was down slightly almost all game, he put up 20 fourth-quarter points and was a +16. This included three-pointers, layups, floaters, and free-throws; he was scoring at all three levels. Miami tried throwing different defenders at Trae, but none of them could stop him. Behind Trae, the Hawks went on to beat the Heat 129-124.
1. January 26th, 2020, vs. Washington Wizards – For Kobe
On the day Kobe Bryant passed away, Trae had a special performance. He put up 45 points, 14 assists, six rebounds, and was a +22 in a comfortable win over Washington. This was on seven of 13 shooting on two-pointers, six of 11 on three-pointers, and 13 of 16 on free throws. Trae was in full control during the game’s entirety, playing at his own pace. His scoring was elite, getting open layups and floaters, drawing contact in the paint, and hitting six three-pointers.
This game featured one of my favorite highlights of Trae’s. With 3.8 seconds remaining in the first half, he intercepted a heave and drilled a half-court shot in succession. State Farm Arena erupted after this, and you can see him mouth the words “for Kobe.” I knew the Hawks were going to win after this; Trae was clearly motivated. They did in fact go on to beat Washington 152-133. He was nothing short of inspiring in this performance. Out of Trae Young’s 10 best games, this was pretty easily number one for me.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images