Trae Young
(Seth Wenig/Associated Press)

Young is giving the art of drawing fouls a bad name, and someone NEEDS to stop it before other players start doing it too.

Trae Young is one of the NBA’s most exciting young talents. His ability to shoot from distance, facilitate his team’s offense, and perform in clutch moments make him extremely difficult to guard, and very fun to watch. There’s one thing that he does, however, that negates all of this.

There are some players in the NBA who just have the awareness to draw contact at any place on the floor. Trae Young is someone who has mastered this ability in only his 3rd season in the league. From his rookie year to his sophomore season, Young increased the number of free throws he attempted each game from 5.1 to 9.3. While this looks great on paper, it has come at the dissatisfaction of many basketball fans. I am one of these fans.

Young isn’t the Only One

For years it has bugged me how it seems as if James Harden isn’t even looking to score at times and is only trying to get to the foul line. The Beard uses this strategy to his advantage at almost every moment in the game, and it’s well known that he is one of the toughest guys to guard in the game because of this. This is easily the most artificial part of the game now, one that Trae Young constantly employs to make up for his lack of size and strength. If it weren’t for both players’ theatrical performances, this strategy would be an acceptable part of basketball.

In Game 1 of the first round Eastern Conference Playoff series pitting the Knicks against the Hawks, Young didn’t even attempt a free throw until the 4th quarter. When it came time to put on a show for the referees, he responded in “dramatic” fashion. On 2 separate occasions in the final quarter, the Hawks PG either stopped or forced his defender into him, drawing a foul. To make matters worse, he deliberately sold the contact in each.

The final time this occurred, with 30 seconds left and the game tied, RJ Barrett was called for a foul when Young was driving to his left, put his arm out to draw the contact, and then desperately put up a shot. He also made sure to yank his head back which helped the refs think they saw Barrett commit a murder. Any person watching that game knew that when Young did that, the refs would call it immediately. And, as always with the man who has the hairline of a balding 49 year old man about to start Bosley, they did.

Not All Hate

This isn’t the spiteful spewings of a very upset Knicks fan, although I am obviously hurt from that loss. Madison Square Garden has always been known to create villains who rise to the occasion to shut the mouths of the Orange & Blue’s incredibly passionate fans. While Trae Young is cementing himself as another one of these players, most smart Knick fans, like myself, don’t blindly hate the guy. At the end of the day, we respect greatness, but greatness doesn’t involved throwing yourself into your opponents in order to get to the foul line. Even NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, whom us Knick fans do not claim and who should definitely keep his mouth shut, understands that this type of basketball is immoral and has no place in today’s NBA.

The only way we’ll see this change is by a shift in policy from NBA refs, which will probably not happen anytime soon. So, for the foreseeable future, basketball fans will be forced to watch the likes of Trae Young and James Harden draw foul after foul in order to help their teams win.