2: Trae Young
Knicks fans were forced to sit back and watch Trae Young and the Hawks eliminate New York in the first round of the playoffs two years ago. Thankfully, Jalen Brunson’s arrival to the Knicks led to the team not only making it back to the postseason for the first time since then but advancing past the first round.
Young’s future in Atlanta isn’t as certain as it was when he signed a five-year, $207 million extension in 2021. He was fresh off an All-Star and All-NBA season that ended with a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The 24-year-old was also labeled as an All-Star snub this past season. He averaged 26.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 10.2 assists in 73 games while shooting 43% from the field and 33.5% from deep, a sizable dip from his 38.2% three-point percentage in 2021-22.
Young and the Hawks advanced past the play-in tournament in April to a first-round series against the Celtics. The guard scored 32 points in Game 3 to cut Boston’s lead to 2-1 rather than 3-0. That performance wasn’t enough to stop many from wondering what had happened to the player who had taken the playoffs by storm a couple of years before.
Young is flashier and younger than Brunson, but the Knicks have the better point guard. Speaking of, Young is set to make nearly $14 million more than Brunson next season.