Heat trading for Trae Young would give Jimmy Butler another chance at a championship

Trae Young has been dismissed as an empty stats player. That narrative would change if he were in a Miami Heat jersey.
Atlanta Hawks v Miami Heat
Atlanta Hawks v Miami Heat / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Consider this: only two players in NBA history have managed to average 20 points and nine assists in their careers. One is the legendary Oscar Robertson and the other is none other than Trae Young. The diminutive dynamic playmaker has led the Hawks to a top-10 offense three times in his career, with a top two finish in 2022.

The Miami Heat have two top-10 offensive rating finishes in the Jimmy Butler era. Teams like San Antonio have this grand idea that Trae Young would not fit their future, but the Heat do not have that luxury. 

Young is elite, though he's polarizing

It makes me cackle that so many people write off a unique talent like Young. He's been snubbed from All-Satr games, Alll-NBA spots, and even Team USA basketball. Some feel he's not a winning player, though he's seen team success in the NBA in his brief career.

Team success and individual stats usually put players in good grace with fans and media. Young had led the measly Hawks to the Eastern Conference Finals when he had no other All-Stars around him in 2021, and we've seen the gaudy numbers he puts up in the regular season (25.5 PPG and 9.5 APG).

For as good of a shooter as he is, you may think Young should be more of an efficient scorer. His 59 TS% could be better when he is a deep-range, four-level-scorer. The erratic shot attempts bring his efficiency down, but Young may be overcompensating. He's never played with a team that fits the style he needs.

A bigger wing creator that can take shots with the shot clock running down would help Trae not be put in a position to be a bailout option like he is in Atlanta. The Heat have that in bunches with their takeover artist, Jimmy Butler.

Would Young be able to match Heat Culture's defensive tenacity? That's a valid question, but were you asking the same question when Damian Lillard was on the table for the Heat? They're on the same level defensively, and Lillard should be a better defender with his powerful upper body and experience in the league.

The defense has been improving 

A miniature-playmaking guard like Young needs stout defenders and great three-point shooting around him. The Miami Heat provides that type of infrastructure. With Young standing five unches under the NBA average, he'll probably never be an elite defender.

It's hard to lock up the best scorers in the world at such a physical disadvantage, but effort and knowing where to be are inexcusable. Young used to be labeled the worst defender in basketball, but that was not the case this year.

Sophomore sensation Paolo Banchero went on JJ Reddick's podcast and said Trae Young has improved defensively, and it's not as easy to score on him anymore.

It holds weight when your peers hold opinions like this. Stats tell us a lot, but respect and peer admiration do. A player can be labeled a great defender by the media and stats but still get hunted in crunch time because his peers don't believe he's as elite as he made out to be.

Trae would be the perfect fit in Miami due to his generational playmaking.

It's no secret that the Miami Heat offense needs a boost. Here are the offensive rating finishes in the Jimmy Butler Era:

2020: 7th

2021: 18th

2022: 10th

2023: 25th

2024: 26th

The last two years have been putrid. The 25th and 26th offense isn't enough for Miami to reach their goal. Young immediately steps in and covers a lot of holes.

The Bam Adebayo and Trae Young pairing would be a glove fit. Terry Rozier has been an outstanding lob thrower, but he's no Trae Young. Young throws oops any way you want them. He can throw them from half-court, off the pick-and-roll, and (my favorite) from floater attempts.

These floater passes put defenders in a bind because he has the same motion he would on a genuine floater attempt. This keeps the defense guessing, as they don't know if he will shoot it or flick it up to John Collins for an earth-shattering jam.

Collins had a wide catch radius when he was a member of the Hawks, but he's no Adebayo. Young and Adebayo would wreck defenses in the pick-and-roll, and Adebayo would cover any weaknesses Trae has on defense.

These parties need each other. The Heat need an offensive conductor, and Trae Young needs a team with elite defenders, snipers, and a set culture. This would be a win-win for both sides.