Trae Young is glad he won’t be double-teamed by defenses as often now that he’s heading to the NBA, but he said that experience in college will help him at the next level.
The former Oklahoma point guard joined ESPN’s First Take Wednesday morning, where host Max Kellerman asked him why he thought he was ready to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft instead of staying in school and developing more. Young said NBA teams won’t be able to guard him the same way as many college teams because there will be other players on the floor demanding the attention of defenses.
“I didn’t necessarily think that I was going to get double- and triple-teamed at times in college,” Young said. “And I know at the next level it’s not necessarily going to be that way. I mean, I have some really good teammates, and without my team we wouldn’t have been where we were, in the position where we were.
“But I know at the next level, there’s going to be guys where you can’t necessarily help off guys or even double-team and triple-team one guy who’s hot, or whatever.”
Young didn’t have a ton of help on the offensive end of the floor as a freshman at Oklahoma. He led the country in scoring (27.4 points per game) and assists (8.7 per game), but no other Sooner averaged more than 12 points per game.
Midway through the season, teams began to just double-team Young much of the time. The Sooners had just one player who played more than 20 minutes per game and also shot more than 40 percent from 3-point range. Without any players to space the floor on offense, Young and the Sooners struggled over the last part of the season.
Despite those struggles, Young thinks that experience will make the transition to the NBA a little easier than if everything had been no problem in college.
“So I feel like the burden [on] my body, stuff like that, that’s something that I think also helped me prepare for this next level,” Young said. “Having to face the trick defenses. Having to study a lot of film for defenses that were guarding me and stuff like that. So I think that’s going to help me prepare for this level going forward.”
Young is currently projected as a lottery pick in the draft, which begins Thursday, June 21, at 7 p.m. ET.
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