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Juicy Fruit Rookies

NBA Rookie Rewind presented by Juicy Fruit: How does Trae Young compare to Stephen Curry?

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Juicy Fruit Rookie Comparison (NBA.com Illustration)

The odds that we'll ever see another Stephen Curry are incredibly slim, but that doesn't mean he hasn't had a tremendous influence on the next generation of players.

From his signature pull-up to his crafty finishes around the basket, there are many young players currently in the NBA who have modeled their game after Curry, one of them being Atlanta Hawks rookie Trae Young.

Young reportedly recorded Golden State Warriors games back when he was in high school to study Curry's game and drew comparisons to the two-time MVP during his one year at the University of Oklahoma, where he led the nation in scoring as a scrawny 19-year-old, and in the lead-up to the 2018 NBA Draft.

Young, however, has since distanced himself from those comparisons - as has Curry - saying he tries to be "Steve Nash more than Steph" even though he does "blend Nash and Steph a lot."

That's reflected in some of the numbers Young is posting through 61 games of his rookie season. He's scoring the same amount as Curry did back when he was a rookie and he's generating a lot of his points from the perimeter, but he's averaging almost two more assists per game.

Young leads all first-year players in that regard, with Luka Doncic being the only rookie who is close to him.

Curry, on the other hand, has Young beat when it comes to shooting efficiency.

Curry showed signs of being a 50-40-90 player in his first season with the Warriors by making 46.2 percent of his field goal attempts, 43.7 percent of his 3-point attempts and 88.5 percent of his free throw attempts.

While Young has been more efficient lately, he's shooting 41.0 percent from the field, 32.9 percent from 3-point range and 80.9 percent from the free throw line on the season.

Young has at least shown that he has the makings of a dominant three-level scorer in the NBA. He has range that extends way beyond the 3-point line, he's comfortable shooting off the dribble and he knows how to get his shot off in the paint.

Young is actually making and taking far more long range 3-pointers than Curry did as a rookie. According to Basketball-Reference, Young is 51-for-152 on 3-point attempts from 27-plus feet this season. It wasn't until Curry's fourth season with the Warriors that he started to shoot from that range with regularity.

The most encouraging sign for the Hawks is - as we've already mentioned - Young has been more efficient lately.

Since the middle of January, he's averaging 21.8 points, 8.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game on 43.9 percent shooting from the field and 38.7 percent shooting from three. The 3-point pull-ups he once struggled with are starting to fall more consistently, which is important considering they make up over a quarter of his shot attempts on the season.

The Hawks have been a completely different team with Young on the court during that stretch, too. According to NBA.com, they've been scoring at a rate of 114.1 points per 100 possessions with him on the court over their last 19 games compared to 99.8 points per 100 possessions with him on the bench.

It's a relatively small sample size, but it speaks to Young's potential as a future star in the league.

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

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