NBA Halloween: Playing trick-or-treat with each team’s early season trend

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images /
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Atlanta Hawks

Trae Young will be an MVP contender: Trick

Excluding his most recent game, where he left 11 minutes in due to an ankle sprain, Trae Young was averaging an eye-popping 34.0 points, 9.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game on scorching-hot .515/.520/.808 shooting splits. The Atlanta Hawks were 2-1, with their only loss being a two-point defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers, one of the expected juggernauts in the East.

As such, and because this always happens during the first week of the season, “Is Trae Young going to be an MVP candidate this year?” headlines started popping up. However, there are too many holes in his potential case and way too much time still to go in this season to feel confident there, even with the good news that his ankle sprain won’t keep him sidelined for too long.

For starters, there’s the defensive end of the floor, where Young ranked as the worst player in the league by Defensive Real Plus-Minus. That’s not going to be fixed overnight. Young was also averaging 6.0 turnovers per game before his injury, and although the Hawks’ hot start was impressive, Young’s downpour felt like a more temporary torrent than a sustainable stream that’d last through the whole season. Ice Trae looks ready for a monster season, but MVP candidates usually come from top-three teams in their conference. It’s far too early to assume Atlanta can get there this quickly.