Wed. Dec 7th, 2022

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The entire purpose of the NBA playing preseason games abroad is to help create foreign fans by showing them what the best players in the world are capable of. Rarely does it actually work out that way. Many teams simply opt to sit their best players out in the preseason. The norm is to simply limit their minutes, and when those players are on the floor, they usually aren’t giving it their all. The game has no stakes, after all.

Just don’t tell that to Trae Young. In front of a crowd of eager international fans in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, Young exploded for 31 points… in the first half. He nailed seven 3-pointers in the process, and he clearly relished playing in front of new potential fans. He tried to fire up the crowd after nutmegging Bobby Portis.

Predictably, Young’s night ended there. He gave Atlanta just 20 minutes in the 118-109 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. That is roughly the preseason standard, especially for a team like Atlanta that will have to deal with jet lag when it returns to the states. The NBA’s goal in putting on these games is to help build the league’s global brand. The Hawks just want to make sure it doesn’t impact their regular season.

But Young’s performance helped on both fronts. He managed to give the crowd an incredible performance without pushing himself too far in a preseason game, and in the process, he showed the entire world just how good the Hawks can be this year.

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