After a story at The Athletic dropped on Friday morning detailing how John Collins and Clint Capela criticized Trae Young during a Hawks film session earlier this week, Atlanta media asked Young about his response to the situation, and Young responded that nothing out of the ordinary happened at those conversations are part of a young team getting better.
Young struggled in the next game he played on Wednesday, taking only nine shots in a home loss to Charlotte, but his words on Friday indicated he may have moved on.
“That’s just what happens,” Young said.
Trae Young during today's post-practice media session: pic.twitter.com/wpsY9m91TJ
— Brad Rowland (@BTRowland) January 8, 2021
It’s hard to tell here where one fissure begins and another ends. Tension between Young and head coach Lloyd Pierce has been reported on multiple times over the course of the past two seasons, and of course Collins’ contract extension negotiations became public prior to the NBA deadline last fall as he turned down a new deal in order to face restricted free agency in 2021. Pierce in the past has expressed that he wants to give Young the space to develop as a leader.
It is also clearly true that Young plays a style that does not involve sophisticated offensive sets and can often phase his teammates out of the offense. Young is not the only one in the NBA who plays this way, but unlike guys like James Harden or Luka Doncic, it has not led to his team making the postseason. However, Atlanta is also just 4-4 and still has a solid shot at being in the playoff conversation in the East, so they have plenty of runway to figure things out if this ends up being put in the past.