Trae Young, of the Oklahoma Sooners, is a name that sky rocketed amidst the chaos of the NCAA’s March Madness. Young was religiously praised for carrying Oklahoma to the tournament, all the while averaging 27.4 points and 8.7 assists in his debut year. With all eyes on his next move after being eliminated in the first round, Young entered his name into the 2018 NBA Draft, in hopes to use his newfound success to drive himself to the top of the selection boards.
As of Tuesday, Young’s hopes have come true — well kind of.
Tuesday night, Young was — somewhat shockingly — picked seventh overall in ESPN’s 2018 on-air NBA Mock Draft. Adrian Wojnarowski and draft expert Mike Schmitz went back-and-forth with picks throughout the first round, pinning Woj with the Chicago Bulls’ No. 7 overall selection, which he then used on Young.
If the Chicago Bulls decide to go with Young in the upcoming draft, the results of their selection would scream uncertainty. Many are projecting Young to be a “boom-or-bust player,” which means the Bulls either obtain a franchise cornerstone, or they waste their primer seventh-overall pick on someone who has the possibility of being an NBA bust.
Although Chicago would certainly hope for the former, Young has a plethora of downfalls that often get overshadowed by his flashy floor presence.
Young is a mere 6-foot-2-inches at the point guard position. With a less than ideal strength, speed and size combination, Young serves as almost too-good-to-be-true prey in today’s NBA — which is filled with dominant, multipurpose floor generals, like Russell Westbrook.
Early in his career, Young will get bullied on the switch game, as his defensive presence is limited to guarding his counterparts and obstructing ball movement. One-on-one, Young’s defense — or lack there of — will be brutally and gladly exposed by the NBA’s finest.
Offensively, Young offers much greater potential to develop into a lethal, game-changing weapon for a young franchise, like the Bulls.
To think of all the ways Young could finesse his way around defenders to dish a pass to Zach LaVine or Lauri Markkanen for a monster slam is undeniably interesting. Young has the potential to revive Chicago’s frontcourt for the first time since Derrick Rose entered the United Center.
But what’s more important: Taking a risk on a spicy, youthful offense, or obtaining a defensive presence?
The Bulls have a vividly disappointing backcourt, with a team defensive efficiency rating of 28th in the league. It would be highly beneficial for Chicago to go with — or trade for — someone with an immediate and established defensive presence.
Young has time on his side to develop the necessary skills for basketball’s largest stage. Nonetheless, a majority of teams, including Chicago, demand immediate success from someone who’s picked so high in first round. Whoever ends up with this young prospect will be rolling the die on a chance for an ever-evolving offensive game, or a misused draft pick.
Will Chicago take that chance?