Trae’s +/- versus Floor Game-Centric PGs

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I hate to be a Debbie but it should be illustrated how easily traditional PGs (run the team’s offense at the expense of their personal numbers, defend ALL THE TIME) absolutely dominate Trae.  He has played 19 games versus:

Fred Van Fleet (undrafted)

Kyle Lowry (24th pick)

Kendrick Nunn (undrafted)

Malcolm Brogdon (36th pick)

George Hill (26th pick)

DJ Augustine (9th pick)

Marcus Smart (6th pick)

Patrick Beverly (42nd pick)

SGA (11th pick)

and CP3 (moonwalk into the Hall)

His combined +/- in those contests is -162.  Their combined +/-?  +173.

I’m sorry.  Trae is not a player to build around.  Not when players with huge chips on their shoulders and high team IQs salivate at the sight of him.  It’s only gonna get worse after he makes the AS Team.  His nonexistent off ball play, assist-hunting, and 0 defensive value is fatal to any team he plays on to the point where his high usage and ball dominance  only neuters his teammates and exacerbates their flaws.  His phenomenal raw production should translate to wins, no if, ands, and buts about it.  I get tired of hearing about his fellow starters’ weaknesses (Bruno instead of Len) when they all have viable strengths.

I’m off my soapbox, seems like I’m back to the days of trashing Joe all the time.  Please discuss, call me an idiot, it’s all welcome.

Edited by benhillboy

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I meant to add this is since Jan 2, 2019 when he hit his stride, I threw out the first 2.5 months of his career as it was abominable.

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I agree to a degree. I just think he is freaking amazing at scoring and passing. But his decision making and PG skills must improve

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Does this mean your not gonna vote 🗳 him into the all star game Benny? 😢 


Trae Young, who averages 28.8, had only 16 points against the Pistons. The second-year guard is on pace to become only the third Hawk to average 28 points on the season, joining Bob Pettit (three times) and Dominique Wilkins (four times).

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2 hours ago, REHawksFan said:

You don't even have to limit it to Hawks players Spud.  Among players 21 years and younger, no player in the history of the NBA has averaged 28+ pts / gm and 8+ ast / game. Trae and Luka are both doing that this season. If you remove the age requirement, only 6 other players have EVER accomplished that feat:

  1. Oscar Robertson (8 times)
  2. James Harden (2)
  3. Russell Westbrook (2)
  4. Tiny Archibald (2)
  5. Michael Jordan (1)
  6. LeBron James (1)

But sure.....Trae isn't a player that you should build around.  🙄

A bit off topic here but remember not long ago Oscar showing irritation about a pass to a three point shooter that scores is an assist. Guessing his assists numbers would be way crazier if he had that possibility back in the day.

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1 hour ago, REHawksFan said:

OK so I got curious about your numbers and wanted to see for myself. And unless I'm missing something, it seems like you are off a bit. Here's what I found:

Trae vs:

  • Lowry - 2 times
  • VanVleet - 3 times
  • Nunn - 2 times
  • Brogdon - 4 times
  • Hill - 5 times
  • Augustine - 5 times
  • Smart - 3 times
  • Beverly - 1 time
  • SGA - 1 time
  • CP3 - 2 times

That totals 28 instances where the above 10 players played in the same game as Trae. However, there are also 5 instances where two players played in the same game with Trae so there were 23 actual games featuring Trae and any combination of the above players. In those 23 games, Trae has a p/m of -242. However, the overall team also had a p/m of -264. More to the point, in 13 of the 23 games, the team's p/m was worse without Trae than with Trae.  

And all of the above fails to consider the fact that other players have a SIGNIFICANT impact on p/m and there's no guarantee that these other PGs were even the players guarding Trae all the time or whether Trae was guarding them. Bottom line, this particular line of thinking seems pretty disingenuous and doesn't really paint an accurate picture of Trae or his ability to be the Alpha on a championship squad. 

Consider this:  The Hawks have played 43 games this season (Trae has played 39). The Hawks overall get outscored 7.27 pts / 36 min. WITH Trae on the floor, the Hawks get outscored by 5.17 pts / 36. WITHOUT Trae, they get outscored by 11.29 pts / 36. Further, in only 10 of the 43 games have the Hawks had a net positive p/m with Trae off the court compared to on. In the other 33 games, the team is far better with Trae than without. 

To me its obvious. This is cherry picked games against teams in which the whole team got beat to death. I am sure you would be hard pressed to find any Hawks with a positive plus minus against teams in the top eight in either conference..

Edited by Buzzard
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18 minutes ago, TheNorthCydeRises said:


To begin, I'll post where I'm getting my information from.  This is Trae Young's player profile on


Here's what you're seeing on this site:

  • All of Trae's raw stats, in order to calculate his NBA Efficiency number.
    • NOTE:  NBA efficiency is a volume intensive stat in which the more raw numbers you put up, the higher your efficiency number will normally be.
  • Every opponent that Trae is directly going up against at his position . . if both players have played at least 25 minutes in the game
  • Each player's NBA Efficiency number in that game
  • The difference between the profiled player, and the player he's going up against, expressed in a won - loss record
  • And the record of the team overall, when he wins or loses the matchup


So let's dive into the data.

Overall, Trae Young ranks 17th in the NBA, with a 25.6 NBA Efficiency rating and is 4th among PGs behind Doncic, Irving, and Lillard.

When you look at Trae's personal profile, and the parameters that has put forth, Trae has won his matchup vs the PG he's going against 19 times.  He's lost his matchup 10 times.  And on 8 occasions, he's tied in efficiency vs the opposing guard. 

Trae's record:  19 - 10 - 8

For a comparison:

  • Giannis ( the top NBA Efficiency player in the league ) is 28 - 3 - 6
  • Luka is 31 - 2 - 4 . . which is an absolutely ridiculous number that is mainly boosted by Luka's rebounding
  • Kyrie is 8 - 4 - 2
  • Lillard is 26 - 9 - 7

One of the flaws in calculating this, is that we all know that Trae didn't guard the opposing PG the entire time he was on the court, and vice versa.  This website simply calculates their NBA Efficiency number for the game, and quantifies it as a "matchup" if both players have played at least 25 minutes in the game, regardless if those minutes were against each other or not.  Despite that, it is a decent way to compare production in a game, and who's production actually contributes to wins and losses because these players are mainly going up against each other.

To me, there's 2 ways you can look at Trae's 19 - 10 - 8 number.  You can say that Trae has played even or above his opponent 27 out of 37 times ( 73% ).   Or you can say that Trae has played even or below his opponent 18 out of 37 times ( 49% ).  While the site kind of dismisses the ties or playing to a draw, you kind of have to factor those in, at least from a team W - L standpoint, something they do not do.

The interesting thing that this website does with these numbers, is that they also have a "sub-record" of how the team did when a player either won or lost their matchup.  So let's look further at Trae and the Hawks.


Trae won his matchup 19 times:   Hawks are 6 - 13

Trae lost his matchup 10 times:  Hawks are 0 - 10


This tells us something that pretty much all of us who watch every game, know.  If Trae isn't putting up a HUGE number offensively, whether it be a lot of points, or a lot of assists, we're not winning the game . . . period.   Now why could that be?  Could it be that he doesn't have adequate help around him?  Could it be that Trae doesn't elevate his teammates to a higher level, and needs more than 8.5 assists to do so? 

Here are the matchup records of the Hawks players and Hawks W - L record in those games.

  • Young:  19 - 10 - 8 . . ( Hawks record in wins:  6 - 13 . . Hawks record in losses:  0 - 10 )
  • Collins:  6 - 4 - 6 . . . . ( Hawks record in wins:  3 - 3 . . . Hawks record in losses:  2 - 2 )
  • Huerter:  8 - 8 - 4 . . . ( Hawks record in wins:  4 - 4 . . . Hawks record in losses:  0 - 8 )
  • Hunter:  6 - 22 - 7 . .  ( Hawks record in wins:  1 - 5 . . . Hawks record in losses:  6 - 16 )
  • Reddish:  1 - 17 - 5 .  ( Hawks record in wins:  0 - 1 . . . Hawks record in losses:  3 - 14 )
  • Parker:  5 - 10 - 4 . . . ( Hawks record in wins:  1 - 4 . . . Hawks record in losses:  3 - 7 )
  • Bembry:  8 - 4 - 1 . . . ( Hawks record in wins:  2 - 6 . . . Hawks record in losses:  2 - 2 )
  • Len:  3 - 1 - 0 . . . . . . . ( Hawks record in wins:  1 - 2 . . . Hawks record in losses:  0 - 1 )
  • Jones:  0 - 2 - 2 . . . . . ( Hawks record in wins:  0 - 0 . . . Hawks record in losses:  1 - 1 )
  • Carter:  0 - 1 - 0 . . . .  ( Hawks record in wins:  0 - 0 . . . Hawks record in losses:  0 - 1 )

Bruno, Crabbe, Turner, and Goodwin have not had a game in which they, and their main opponent counterpart, have played 25+ minutes in a game.


When you look at those W - L profiles, it shows us what we all know, or should know.  We have very few players who can out perform their opponent on a nightly basis.  And despite Trae doing it more than anyone else, it didn't translate into wins, especially when Collins was out and Huerter wasn't still 100%.  He just didn't have any help.

The burden on Hunter and Reddish has been too much, from a production standpoint. Asking rookies who aren't in that elite tier of players to step right in and outproduce NBA vets, is unfair to them. That's why we needed our own vets who could at least do it on an occasional basis.  Surprisingly, Bembry has been the one vet ( when given the minutes ), who can outproduce his counterpart.  But even when he was doing it, the Hawks still lost more than they won.  

It's only when Collins came back into the mix, and Huerter finally snapped out of his funk, that they started outproducing their counterpart, along with Trae, that led to victories for the team.  Recently, the key to our wins has been Huerter outplaying his SG counterpart, which he's done 6 times since Dec 30th, leading to 4 wins.


Bottom line is that Trae is doing more than enough on offense, to have the team win more games than they have, even if his opponent is producing numbers as well.  But every star player needs help, in order to win in this league.


Fascinating data. Thanks for posting.

Also interesting to note the following:

  • Trae / Huerter both WON: Hawks go 2-4
  • Trae / JC both WON: Hawks go 1-1
  • Huerter / JC both WON: Hawks go 1-1
  • T/H/C all WIN: Hawks go 0-1 (only happened in Cleveland when JC came back from suspension)


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