Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals saw Trae Young lead his Atlanta Hawks over reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. In the process, he scored a staggering 48 points. This also happens to be his first ECF game in his career.
This standout performance led to many hailing his play, but ESPN’s Max Kellerman had the ultimate praise for the young guard. On ‘First Take,’ he claimed that Young’s playoff performances exceeded Steph Curry’s. He also went on to say that Young is a better playoff player than Curry.
Trae is Steph Curry, but in the playoffs he elevates. The ceiling is higher [for Trae] in the playoffs when it counts.Max Kellerman
To any fan, Kellerman’s take may seem audacious. Fellow analyst and co-host of ‘First Take’ Stephen A. Smith shared a similar perspective, saying that Kellerman’s take,
“Annoyed the living hell out of him.”Stephen A. Smith
This year’s playoffs are Young’s first in his career, while Curry has played in 5 NBA Finals and seen playoff basketball 7 times.
Out of fairness, it is almost impossible to compare a rising young star to arguably the game’s most innovative player of all time, but Kellerman did. The main driving point of his argument was Curry’s playoff performance compared to Young’s.
In the 2021 postseason, Young so far has averages of 30.5 points and 10.5 assists. These also come off a 42% field goal percentage and a lowered 33% 3-point percentage. On the other hand, in 7 postseasons, Steph averaged 26.5 points and 6 assists. His efficiency shooting the ball is where he takes the cake over Young.
Over 7 playoffs, he shot an astonishing 40% from 3-point land. He also has a higher overall field goal percentage at 45%.
While still an outstanding player, Young is not nearly the shooter that Curry is. Steph singlehandedly revolutionized the way the game is played today with his dominance from past the arc.
For now, Trae Young and his newfound villain status within the league are in the ECF while the Warriors failed to get past the play-in game. However, in the long run, Young has an extremely long way to go if he wants to match Curry’s Hall of Fame-caliber career.