Atlanta Hawks star PG Trae Young out to prove he can drive winning

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young saw great individual success last season in just his second year in the league.

He was named an All-Star starter at 21 years old, finished fourth in the league in scoring (29.6) and second in assists (9.3). But the Hawks didn't find the team success that went along with Young's stat line, finishing 20-47 with the second-worst record in the East.

While the Hawks addressed several needs in free agency and in the NBA draft, Young told reporters Tuesday that his motivation heading into the season is to prove he can be a winner on the court.

"Obviously, it's shown up to this point we haven't won very many games, but my track record playing basketball, I've won my whole life," Young said. "I took a team in college from not-supposed-to-make a tournament to top five in the country, top four in the country at one point, and led us to the tournament. It's more about, for me, how I can change that narrative that I can't win."

In his lone year of college, Young led Oklahoma to the No. 4 ranking in the AP poll in mid-January 2018 after wins over top-20 ranked teams. However, that team struggled down the stretch, finishing 18-14 and losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Young will have a chance to shed the label that he can't win this year as the Hawks added pieces to improve the roster. Atlanta added point guard Rajon Rondo, guards Kris Dunn and Bogdan Bogdanovic, and forwards Danilo Gallinari and Solomon Hill in free agency and drafted forward Onyeka Okongwu with the No. 6 overall pick in last month's draft.

Add that to center Clint Capela, whom Atlanta traded for during last season (he never played for the Hawks because of injury) and Atlanta has its sights set on the playoffs in 2020-21.

"For me, it was important because I love to win," Young said of the offseason acquisitions. "I want to win. I know, obviously, you see we all want to win and we all want to win now. It was exciting to see that. ... We got some guys who are winning before. We got some guys that can help us win now. It'll be fun playing with this team."

Young said he was "excited" to play with the new guys but also about the chance to learn from a veteran point guard like Rondo, who is entering his 15th NBA season and has two titles, including one last season with the Los Angeles Lakers.

"He's such a cerebral point guard," Young said. "For me, studying point guards growing up, I know a lot about his history and how successful he's been in this league. For me, it's all about picking his brain just like I did [with former teammate Vince Carter]. I want to learn as much as I can from him and just work together as a backcourt."