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Atlanta Hawks

Is Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young making a late case for the Rookie of the Year award?

#Doncic
(NBA Getty Images)

The short answer is, probably not, but let's have some fun.

Luka Doncic has had a firm grip on the Rookie of the Year award basically from opening night, with a spectacular freshman campaign in the NBA.

And while the Mavericks guard continues to impress, in the shadows, Atlanta Hawks playmaker Trae Young has quietly been weaving his magic, making him the only rookie with a case to rival the feats of Doncic.

In Thursday's 131-123 win over the Minnesota TImberwolves, Young poured in a career-high 36 points, following his 36-point effort the game prior agianst the Houston Rockets, becoming the first rookie since Allen Iverson to record back-to-back 35-point, 5+ assist games.

He then took things a step further on Friday when he erupted down the stretch to force overtime against the Bulls with 18 points and six assists in the final quarter. The cherry on top was his go-ahead triple from deep.

Young ended the game with 49 points and 16 assists. His efforts saw him set the franchise record for a rookie in scoring along with joining some of the games biggest names.

It gives him three straight games of scoring 35+ points and he joins Michael Jordan, Bernard King and Allen Iverson as the only rookies to achieve the feat since the ABA-NBA merger.

He also becomes the first rookie since Jordan to record three games with at least 35 points and 10 assists. Despite his heroics the Hawks couldn't get past the Bulls in quadruple-overtime, falling 168-161.

If the first half of the season belonged to Doncic, the stretch run has Young's fingerprints all over it.

After a sluggish start to the season shooting the ball, Young has found his groove at the head of Atlanta's offence and in the month of February, he is averaging 23.3 points per game, 9.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds, shooting the ball at a sizzling 43.7% from three and 41% from the field. In that same span, he's recorded three of his five 30+ points games.

I mean, just look at this ridiculous stretch over the past 15 games.

While Doncic has made his appearance in basically every nightly top 10 highlight reel, Young hasn't been short on providing spectacular plays himself.

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Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C:

Sure there's a little recency bias here, but Young's phenomenal play can't be ignored.

I mean just look at these disrespectful threes he hurled at the Rockets.

Sheesh.

While Young has been on fire of late, Doncic's hallmark this season has been consistency. He's been awesome pretty much every night he's stepped out on the floor and if Young's February stretch is impressive, Doncic's has been much the same.

The 20-year-old averaged 24.4 points per game, 9.4 rebounds and 7.4 assists last month and is showing no signs of slowing down.

The ROY award is very much still Luka's to lose, but man, Trae Young is making things interesting.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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