NBA Draft Preview: Oklahoma’s Trae Young

Despite putting together one of the most prolific seasons in college basketball history, Trae Young was heavily scrutinized during his one season at Oklahoma.

And that scrutiny will continue right up until draft day.

The nation’s leader in scoring (27.4 per game) and assists (8.7 per game), Young is the first major-conference player in Division I history to finish with at least 800 points and 250 assists in the same season.

A unanimous first-team All-Big 12 selection, Young was named to the AP All-American first team and looked like a shoo-in for several player of the year awards with three 40-point games in a six-game span in January.

But as defenses began putting more focus on shutting down Young, he struggled to find his touch, shooting 33.6 percent – including 19.6 percent on 3-pointers – in his first six February contests, all Oklahoma losses.

When things were going good, Stephen Curry comparisons were being thrown around – and for good reason, as he was deftly knocking down jumpers from all over the court and was fearlessly driving the lane. However, when he struggled, some wondered how the game of this scrawny 19-year-old would translate to the pros.

Curry, for one, also has a couple inches and some bulk on Young, who at 177.8 pounds was the lightest person weighed at the draft combine, and also had the smallest wingspan at 6-foot-3. Young, however, won’t be the focal point of every opponent’s defensive scheme at the next level and should get some more space. Young’s defense is also a liability but if he’s consistently making baskets, teams are willing to overlook his defensive shortcomings.

There’s enough film out there, though, for NBA teams to see that Young has the ability to be a playmaker and he’ll likely be a top-10 pick.