Trae Young plays like he’s a great shooter. The Bucks should leave it.

When it comes to Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, much of the discussion centers on whether he is taking too many 3 points at the expense of his true strengths, which include his dominance in painting.

It’s an interesting discussion, but after Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, in which the Bucks convincingly equalized the best of seven series in a blowout, it’s also worth considering whether this discussion should. also be directed to Trae Young of Atlanta.

The Bucks sidelined the game in the first half with a 20-0 streak en route to a 125-91 victory. How they won wasn’t exactly basketball rocket science. They made 3 points at a high clip. In the first half, Milwaukee shot 10 for 18 from deep and didn’t look back. A lot of those shots were open and weren’t much different from the appearance of the Bucks who didn’t fall in Game 1.

As the perimeter opened up in Game 2, the way for Antetokounmpo also opened, who relentlessly attacked the rim, both in transition and post-up, and finished with 25 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists in 29 minutes.

The Bucks also confused Young by playing him more physically. In particular, Milwaukee used his length to cut passing lanes, forcing Young to make nine turnovers. Jrue Holiday, an elite perimeter defender, was more aggressive in containing Young, especially coming off screens.

“They just got their pressure back, their intensity,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said after the game. “They played with more sense of urgency. I didn’t think Jrue was doing anything other than staying focused on Trae, containing the ball and just being there. “

Young didn’t hesitate to take the blame.

“It’s all about me,” Young said. “I have to be better at taking care of the ball and doing a better job at at least giving us a shot. Nine turnarounds. I have to do better, and I’ll do better in the next game. “

There’s another issue with Young that doesn’t seem to get as much attention beyond turnovers, and here he may have something in common with Antetokounmpo.

Antetokounmpo went 0 for 3 from outside the perimeter in Game 2. And with every missed shot, TNT’s Reggie Miller harangued Antetokounmpo on the show for taking those wide-opening shots, claiming he was bailing out the defense. of the Hawks. This has been a theme throughout Antetokounmpo’s playoffs. In this year’s second-round series against the Nets, whenever Antetokounmpo had an open look at Barclays Center, the crowd howled with impatience, hoping he would pull the plug.

Miller and the Nets fans were on to something. These aren’t good moves for Antetokounmpo, considering his strength near the edge. But three long jump shots in a game isn’t much in today’s NBA

Young, who is extremely confident in his long-range shooting, is one example. His confidence is part of what makes him such a great player and why the Hawks unexpectedly reached the conference finals. But it’s increasingly clear that Young’s 3-point shot is almost as problematic – if not more – than Antetokounmpo’s, as he takes a lot more and hasn’t consistently knocked them down.

Young and his teammates struggled to go 3 in Game 2, finishing 9 for 36 of 3. Young went 1 for 8. The only mark was a quick release worthy of a climax after a cross against Holiday. That’s exactly it with Young: When he succeeds, he does it in a flashy way, which makes it easy to forget about the seven duds. It’s easy to attribute this to a bad night on the shoot. But in Game 1, when Young masterfully poured in 48 points, what was less noticed was that he shot 4 for 13 of 3.

OK, these are two bad nights of filming – at least from 3. It happens. But when you zoom out and look at Young’s story as a shooter, there are holes. Against the Philadelphia 76ers in the semifinals, Young shot three badly in seven games: 32.3% on nearly nine attempts per game. In the first round against the Knicks: 34.1% over five games.

Out of 204 career regular-season games, Young has shot just 34.3% of 3. For someone who has averaged over seven 3-point attempts per game for his career, that’s not very good. .

Part of that is the difficulty in the 3s Young takes. As a first ball player, Young is great at creating shots for others, but rarely has shots created for him. This means that a lot of his 3-point shots come from pull-ups or pullbacks, and rarely from shots. They are also frequently contested.

Young certainly looks like a great 3-point shooter: his form is similar to Curry’s. He’s an excellent free throw shooter (88.6% in the regular season). And he’s often aggressively guarded as if he’s a constant threat as a shooter. But there is no evidence that he is a lot of one.

During the regular season, when the closest defenseman was more than six feet from Young, he shot just 39.6 percent from the field. During the playoffs, entering Friday, that number was slightly worse at 38.2%. (Curry, during the regular season, was 48.9%. LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers was at 45.2% and Durant at 56.3%.)

It’s an argument for occasionally keeping Young in the same way opposing teams keep Antetokounmpo: encouraging him to take deeper shots, especially recoils. Give it more space and put a defensive wall around the edge. Young compensates for his shot with his skillful handling of the ball in the paint and reaching the free throw line. As Antetokounmpo intimidates his way to the basket, Young uses finesse. One of Young’s best weapons is a float, which he often deploys when exiting a pick-and-roll and seeing a big Bucks man backing into the blanket. Young was 5 for 8 on Friday inside the 3-point line.

Simply put: The Bucks should be encouraging Young to take hits he doesn’t usually do and stop him from getting the ones he usually does. Giving him more room to operate on the outside might help neutralize his ability to break through defenses to reach the edge. The downside is that it also leaves more room for other Atlanta shooters. But Young is able to find them anyway when he easily gets into the painting.

Young is a better deep threat than Antetokounmpo, who shot 30.3% on 3 during the regular season. But to some extent, filming has so far been a weakness in Young’s career – a weakness the Bucks shouldn’t be afraid to exploit as the series heads to Atlanta on Sunday.

Young seems to think he’s a good long-range shooter. Do not deceive him of this notion.

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