Photo credit: Brett Davis – USA TODAY SPORTS
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young was named Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in March and April combined, it was announced Thursday. The first-year guard from the University of Oklahoma has now received the conference’s top rookie honor for games played in November, January, February and March/April, becoming the first Hawks player to ever receive the award four times.
In 19 starts spanning the two months, Young averaged 23.4 points, 9.2 assists and 4.9 rebounds in 31.9 minutes (.440 FG%, .307 3FG%, .858 FT%). Over that time, he led all Eastern rookies in points per game, total points (444), assists per game, total assists (175), double-doubles (10) and free throws made (103). He was responsible for all eight 20-or-more point/10-or-more assist games by East rookies over that time. Between March 19 and March 26, Young recorded four consecutive 20-plus point/10-plus assist contests, the longest streak by an NBA rookie since Damon Stoudamire (Toronto) in 1996.
On March 1, Young totaled 49 points and 16 assists vs. Chicago, becoming the first rookie in NBA history to hit those marks in a game, and just the second player in league history to reach those totals in a game (James Harden, 12/31/16). He also joined Michael Jordan and LeBron James as the only rookies in the past 40 seasons to reach 40-or-more points and 10-or-more assists in a game.
Locker room sound of Trae Young after the Hawks finals
On March 9 vs. Brooklyn, he recorded the first triple-double of his career (23 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds) and the only triple-double among East rookies this season. On March 23 vs. Philadelphia, Young hit the game-winning shot with 0.1 seconds remaining and eight days later vs. Milwaukee, he sank a buzzer beater in overtime to beat the Bucks.
Young recorded a pair of 33-point, 12-assist games (in wins at New Orleans on 3/26 and vs. Philadelphia on 4/3) and added a 32-point 11-assist effort in another win over the 76ers on 3/23.
He finished his rookie campaign averaging 19.1 points, 8.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 30.9 minutes (.418 FG%, .324 3FG%, .829 FT%), becoming one of two rookies in NBA history to reach 19.1 ppg/8.1 apg/3.7 rpg in a season (Oscar Robertson, 1960-61). Young totalled seven 30-point, 10-assist games this season, the second-most by a rookie in league history (Oscar Robertson, 1960-61). He led the Eastern Conference in total assists (653), finishing second in the NBA.