By Lamar Battle
In the first of our NBA awards series this one clears up a lot of questions about the two man race for NBA 2018-19 Rookie Of The Year. The winner will be either Luka Doncic’ of the Dallas Mavericks or Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks.
Luka Doncic the 19 year old former Euro League MVP established himself early as the odds on favorite. The lottery pick was slated to be a promising player but no one expected him to be this good this early (21.2 ppg,7.8 rpg, 32.7 3pt % and 6.0 apg).
Luka has been compared favorably to NBA legend Larry Bird since he displays great confidence and outside shooting. Luka’s confidence along with impeccable ball handling may be his greatest attributes. His thick frame and 6’8″ height allows for the absorption of physical contact that would discourage a lot of players.
There was one game against the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors where Kevin Durrant, Andre Igoudala, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all took turns guarding Luka with no success. And for good measure the 19 year old made the NBA players list of guys they would start a franchise with.
Picture the 6’1″ Trae Young starting his move from the right elbow and faking out established defender Philadelphia’s Jimmy Butler while looking to the right side of the floor prior to shooting and making the game winner over Joel Embiid.
Trae also made game winners over Toronto’s Kahwi Leonard and the Milwaukee Bucks.
After setting the NCAA on fire (Leading in points and assist) Trae came into the NBA with potential as a three point shooter but with enough passing swag to net him a lottery selection. What happened after that was the birth of an All Star.
Trae started the season slowly but picked up to such a degree in the second half that he earned a legitimate spot in this discussion (23.4ppg, 9.2 apg and 38% from the three point line). Trae boast the 3pt shooting range of (yes seriously) Steph Curry and he really can pass the rock.
It seems the only thing missing from his game early on was the realization that he belongs, and belong he does. Trae has the ability to shift speeds with the ball and peruse the paint on offense at his leisure. That is an invaluable skill, one that other point guards take years to master.
Atlanta has a bright future and a lot of the credit goes to Trae Young.
So Who Wins?
Both players will be All Stars and possibly Hall Of Famers but the award will go to the player that displayed excellence over the course of the entire season and that player is Luka Doncic.