Spearheaded by teams such as the Big Three Era Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors, the NBA is currently enveloped in a golden era where spacing, ball movement and three-point shooting have taken center stage as the best way to produce a winning and entertaining product.
For many teams, successfully installing an offensive scheme like this often requires a point guard who has a seemingly unlimited three-point range, fantastic ball-handling and passing skills and isn’t afraid to be a leader.
The Warriors have perhaps the all-time greatest example of this in Stephen Curry and it would serve the Cavs well to get a player that possesses this skillset, which is why I think Oklahoma’s Trae Young should garner serious consideration with the 8th pick if he is available.
No, I am not saying that the former Oklahoma stalwart will be even close to the player that Curry is. However, when you watch him play, you can tell that he is part of the first wave of players that attempt to model their game after the two-time MVP.
The quick release, nifty ball-handling skills, undersized stature and lack of aversion towards even the most audacious of shots is extremely reminiscent of Curry, but the similarities don’t end there.
Both players led programs that weren’t viewed as traditional blue-chip programs to major success.
Yes, Oklahoma is a much bigger and well-known program than Davidson, but making a basketball program at a football school one of the top storylines of the season and leading them to a national ranking that peaked at #4 definitely deserves merit, even with the team’s extremely short stint in March Madness.
Both players go into the pros with similar concerns. Curry was knocked for his undersized stature, lack of explosiveness and worries that he didn’t fit in perfectly at either of the guard spots.
These are eerily similar to what many scouts are saying about Young who, listed at 6-2 and 180 pounds, may indeed face some issues adapting to the NBA game as much as Curry did.
These issues took several years to overcome, but Curry really began to blossom near the end of Mark Jackson’s tenure as head coach and under Steve Kerr, which underlines that a good offensive system is also very key to a young player’s growth.
Luckily for the Cavs, they may be able to implement a radical new system next season due to the potential departures of Lebron James and Tyronn Lue, one that is catered around whatever young talent they grab with the 8th pick.
Lastly, both Young and Curry have received interest from the beleaguered New York Knicks (this is more of a funny coincidence, but any time I can include a video of Knicks fans being extremely disappointed, I have to seize the opportunity).
Yet again, any team would be happy if Young ends up as even half the player Curry is, but these eerie similarities aren’t the only reasons I like the Oklahoma stalwart.
Young lit up college basketball to the tune of 27.4 PPG and 8.7 APG, both tops in the NCAA and all with minimal help.
He led the Sooners to a dream start to the season, with wins over #3 Wichita State, #10 TCU, #8 Texas Tech and #5 Kansas being somewhat underappreciated by some due to the absolute tailspin that ended Oklahoma’s season.
He shot 36% from beyond the arc and 42.2% from the field, numbers that aren’t that impressive until one again considers the absolute lack of help he had in Norman.
Most importantly, Young just seems to have a certain aura surrounding him, one that cannot be quantified, but I am confident could transform a franchise and lead to wins and championships with enough patience and faith.
Yes, he does have his ugly moments, with his penchant for turnovers (he averaged 5.2 per game!), Kobe-like usage and shot volume (he had a 37.1% usage percentage and went 14-39 in a January loss to Oklahoma State) and easily frustrated demeanor having scared some teams off.
However, he has shot up draft boards as of late, which is definitely indicative of his true talents and potential, two things that really pop out to anyone who has seen him play this season.
Lastly, doesn’t it just seem right that the Cavs, facing yet another uncertain future, take a guard to help rebuild the franchise?
It was seven years ago this June that the team drafted a point guard by the name of Kyrie Irving, a decision that was spectacular in every way besides his departure.
They took him despite concerns about his health and physical stature and the pleas of several analysts that viewed Arizona’s Derrick Williams as the correct pick.
Please, Koby Altman, do not overthink this. If Young is available, pull the trigger. It will pay dividends in the long run and inject excitement into a franchise that will surely need it given the likelihood that the team will return back to NBA irrelevance in a few short months.