What Would Dominique Wilkins Say? | Trae Young Decided Not To Show Up To A Game Because He Doesn’t Like Head Coach Nate McMillan’s Policy

Trae Young trade?
(Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Atlanta Hawks superstar Trae Young had an exchange with head coach Nate McMillan that resulted in Young choosing not to attend last Friday’s home game, a win against the Denver Nuggets. Young is an elite All-NBA-caliber player but this is the second head coach he’s had an issue with. Perhaps the problem is Young?

Why Did Trae Young Miss A Game For No Reason

According to Shams Charania, McMillan likes to have players that are playing in that night’s game available at shootaround. Young was receiving treatment on his right shoulder, and McMillan asked him whether he would participate in shootaround, receive treatment during walk-through and play in the game against the Nuggets.

Young did not want to participate in shootaround, opting to focus on on his treatment and deciding later in the day whether he would play.

McMillan did not agree with that approach and gave Young two options: Play off the bench — or do not show up to the arena. Young decided not to show up.

This is poor form from Young. It’s not like McMillan made up an arbitrary rule just for him. This is McMillan’s policy, and Young knows this.

Young decided to flex his authority as the franchise star and see if he could do something different. McMillan decided to hold him accountable.

Young addressed the media on Monday saying it’s not a big deal and its shame private conversations were made public. He seemed to get testy when he was pressed by a reporter. If it’s no big deal, why is he getting so mad? Why is he being so defiant?

Trae Young Has History Of Poor Leadership 

Former Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce was fired in 2021 in large part because of his relationship with Young. Whether it was Pierce wanting more of Young and wanting him to be more accountable, the franchise ultimately sided with its superstar, as they often do.

But according to Shams’ reporting, McMillan’s job is safe and Young is the one who is going to have to do some things differently.

“And key personnel around the team believe that Young simply must find a way to become a more productive and positive face of the franchise.”

Vince Lombardi once said leaders aren’t born, they’re made.

Being the best player on the team doesn’t mean you’re a leader. Young hasn’t yet earned the title of leader. Not by his latest actions.

Ever since he was drafted there have been signs that he has not galvanized the organization. Whether it was hitting a game winning shot his rookie season, and not one of his teammates congratulated or celebrated with him on the floor. Or the constant friction with teammate John Collins and the latter wanting to be traded. The Pierce firing. Setting the lackadaisical tone for last regular season coming off an NBA Finals appearance. Now the latest with McMillan.

Young is only 24, so he has time to mature and develop into a leader. But that must begin now. The Hawks have a lot of young talent and an opportunity to be the future of this league, along with the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans.

The Hawks have done their part. It’s now up to Young.