NBA Playoffs: 3 players who have enhanced reputation

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Atlanta Hawks

NBA playoffs (Photo by Seth Wenig – Pool/Getty Images)

Players whose stock has risen in the NBA playoffs 3. Trae Young

When it comes to announcing yourself on the playoff stage, nobody has done it quite as loudly as Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks this season. There was the rough start to the year, being overlooked as an All-Star and the midseason change in head coach to Nate McMillan. Throw in the injury to Bogdan Bogdanovic when he was needed during the regular season and times were tough.

To Young’s credit, he continued playing as well as he always has, even if his personal numbers took a small dip. Mind you, averages of 25.3 points and 9.4 assists weren’t exactly a poor return on his play. A first-round series with the New York Knicks beckoned, featuring the Most Improved Player Julius Randle and Coach of the Year Tom Thibodeau, and Young didn’t even flinch.

Instead he played the villain perfectly, puncturing the optimism around the resurgent Knicks on the way to a 4-1 series win. Young certainly had help and hiring McMillan when they did and with their season on the brink was a masterstroke. It seems to have unlocked the full potential of this roster.

Taking a 1-0 series lead over the Philadelphia 76ers, with Young putting up 35 points and 10 assists, felt like bonus territory for this organization after their emphatic victory over the Knicks. Yet here is Young, proving that despite being small in stature and susceptible to being attacked on the defensive end, he is able to lead a group on a postseason run.

The comparisons to Luka Doncic (unlucky not to make this list himself) have quietened, but three years into their careers it is casual fans who have witnessed Young win a series before Doncic was able to do so. No matter where the Hawks go from here this season, they have proven that you can build a winning team around Young’s talents.

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