Trae Young is frustrated, and we get it. The dynamic shooting guard averaged an easy 28.4 points per game in the regular season and then was held to a season-low eight points in Game 1 of the NBA playoffs against Miami.
His 1-for-12 shooting from the field was unfathomable for a guy who is nicknamed Ice Trae because of his clutch gene from distance.
Most would chalk it up as an aberration, but while his Game 2 performance was an improvement (25 points), Young’s shot was still off, and he turned the ball over 10 times while shooting just 20 percent from three-point range. It was another stinker and resulted in another Hawks loss to the Miami Heat, who have to be thinking sweep.
"Obviously, we felt we let one slip away, but if the refs are gonna let them be as physical as they are and not call fouls, I mean, it's gonna be hard to really do anything anyway." — Trae Young
— Bally Sports Sun: HEAT (@BallyHEAT) April 20, 2022
Young was obviously frustrated, but one has to question what he was trying to accomplish in his postgame presser by basically conceding the series and blaming it on not getting foul calls. There are still games left to turn the series around. And it’s not like Young has been shooting the lights out. If he needs something to change, he can start with what he can control.
Fans undoubtedly got a kick out of Young’s complaints and the roast began on social media.
😔 As a diehard Hawks and Trae Young fan we need more from our leader. He absolutely stunk up the place last night. Don’t get me wrong. I loved his hustle plays and points. But holding the ball, passing up easy shots for spectacular ones??? In the playoffs?!!! In the playoffs?!!! pic.twitter.com/apq1s9TlMK
— AGuyFromAtlanta (@AguyFromAtlanta) April 20, 2022
— Kenny Be. Divine (@Kenny_Benjamin) April 20, 2022
When fans hear the expression “playoff basketball” most don’t really understand what that means. They get spoiled by the regular season, the lack of defensive intensity and the way the NBA promotes offense across the board to keep the fans interested in the 82-games — especially when the superstars are only suiting up for 60 of those games.
There’s no freebies in the playoffs. The refs are less liberal with the whistle and for the most part, they let teams actually defend more vigorously than they do in the regular season when the objective is to promote offense.
Young’s response to being defended aggressively sums up how the superstars of his generation — with a few exceptions — approach the game. Everybody wants it to come easy. They read the headlines and the blogs and social media and all of the praise. The billboards and the fan adulation will have you thinking you can leap over a tall building in a single bound. And when you fall short, the LeBron James school of millennium superstardom suggests you just blame the next man. Or the refs. Or in Kyrie Irving’s case, overzealous fans.
Problem is, the playoffs is the most authentic style of basketball you’ll see all NBA season. That’s when the show takes a back seat to the grind and championships must be earned on the court, not on social media.
The consensus opinion among NBA fans is that Ice Trae should show better leadership and elevate his teammates, rather than complain about the referees with this defeatist energy just because defenders won’t just let him have his way with them. If he’s a franchise player, then he holds the responsibility of lifting his team out of this 2-0 rut, figuring out how to deal with the Heat’s defensive game plan and intensity. Or graciously accept defeat.