Trae Young is undoubtedly one of the best players in the league from a statistics standpoint. The numbers that he is putting up are solid: 26.8 PPG and 9.5 APG is some elite production. Despite his elite numbers, Trae Young was not selected for the 2021 All-Star game. There are only so many spots for the All-Star game, so naturally, some people would be left on the outside looking in.
Despite being an All-Star last season, Young couldn't follow up with another All-Star selection. In fact, the voting numbers for this year's All-Star game show that he has lost a lot of votes among players and fans. Such a drastic decline can't simply be because of his numbers, as they are pretty similar to his season last year.
It is clear that Trae Young is a talented player. All one has to do is to look at his ability to shoot from the logo and his amazing vision to see that. However, he has recently come under fire for his free throw drawing, which borderline forces the NBA referees to call a foul.
Drawing fouls is a big part of players' games. We've seen James Harden do it over the years. Sometimes foul calls are warranted, and other times the referees miss calls. We all get that. However, over the course of this season, we've witnessed Trae Young get a lot of calls such as this one, where there is barely any contact between him and the defender. Jaylen Brown had a good defensive position here but the moment Trae Young felt Brown make slight contact, he went up to try and draw a foul.
Trae Young's foul drawing techniques did not sit well with fans after the Jaylen Brown foul call. No-one wants to watch somebody shoot 15 free throws a game. Trae Young is one of the top 3 players in free throw attempts per game, with 9.8. The only two players who get more free throws are Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who inevitably get hacked inside when they try to finish at the basket. The two after him are Luka Doncic and Bradley Beal, but they each attempt 8.1 free throws a game, almost 2 free throws less than Trae Young.
There are other examples of people disapproving of Trae Young's style of play. There was a play involving Taj Gibson that made fans mad. The frustration isn't limited to fans either. In an earlier Knicks game, Coach Tom Thibodeau expressed his ire towards one of Young's foul drawing techniques where Young abused the fact that the defender bumped him from behind. Coach Steve Nash said "That's not basketball" to a referee after a similar play where Young drew a foul on Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot. It is clear that Trae Young's foul drawing isn't the most popular around the league. Trae Young has stated that he got his foul-drawing technique from Nash, but there's more to unpack here.
Steve Nash attempted fewer free throws in 7 years than Trae Young did over two seasons. That tells you pretty much everything you need to know. Trae Young's style works because the referees give him the call: but at the end of the day, it isn't an appealing look for the All-Star game. Take Zion Williamson for example. He got his first All-Star selection with a completely different style. Zion Williamson takes it to the basket strong and tries to finish, rather than trying to draw a foul. While it is clear that Trae Young and Zion Williamson play nothing alike even outside of the free throw factor, that is something to note.
There are other factors to Trae Young not getting an All-Star selection: increased talent in the Eastern Conference and the Atlanta Hawks' own abysmal standing may have contributed to that. It is clear that the groups that vote for the All-Star game don't enjoy the foul-baiting that Trae Young does. We've seen examples of players being frustrated with the calls on the court, the fans being frustrated on social media, and the coaches talking to the referees. The integrity of a basketball game is ruined when someone purposefully tries to bait for fouls. While some foul calls are unavoidable, watching a player try to play the referees all game is fun for nobody. The All-Star game is about entertainment for the fans: foul-baiting is not entertainment.
At the end of the day, Trae Young is still a very talented player. He will probably make many more All-Star games in the future, as he has a long career ahead of him. However, his foul-drawing techniques have caused a lot of negative talk around the league and could have directly contributed to his All-Star snub.