Oklahoma freshman Trae Young has been one of the hot topics of the basketball world this week, with NBA powerhouse LeBron James urging the 19-year-old to turn professional just days ago. It isn’t LeBron however, that Young has been compared to. The point guard has kept no secrets about how he is continuing to model his game on Golden State Warriors hero Stephen Curry, and he could be the first in a long line of Curry replicas.
Trae Young was just 10-years-old when Stephen Curry first appeared for the Golden State Warriors back in 2009, and at that point, neither player could have predicted the profound effect that this would have on their respective careers. Curry has gone on to lead the Warriors to two championships, picking up two MVP awards, and breaking multiple records along the way.
Like most NBA greats, Curry has had a remarkable impact on the game, including cranking up the average for three point attempts per game, and generally making a successful career in the NBA appear more attainable to shorter players.
Curry’s influence is immediately evident in Trae Young, who currently has an average of 10.5 three points attempts per game, and is more inclined to fire a three from the dribble.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Young said of Curry’s influence: “I would record every game, I’d watch before I went to bed or the next day. I watched how he played, how the Warriors moved without the ball and how Steph got everyone involved and still created for himself. I loved watching Steph’s game.”
It’s perhaps a little cheap to label Trae Young ‘the next Stephen Curry’. There are a tonne of smaller players who favour energetic bursts to the three-point line, and Curry is by all accounts a ‘complete’ player. But with ever generation comes a new hero, and we could see a host of future Steph Currys over the next few years. Whether this will have a positive effect on the NBA remains to be seen – as ESPN’s Mark Jackson hypothesised.
“Understand what I’m saying when I say this,” said Jackson. “To a degree, he’s hurt the game. And what I mean by that is I go into these high school gyms, I watch these kids, and the first thing they do is run to the 3-point line. You are not Steph Curry. Work on the other aspects of your game. People think that he’s just a knock-down shooter. That’s not why he’s the MVP. He’s a complete basketball player.”