Memo to Trae Young: Trevor Ariza isn't a fan of nutmegs.
The Atlanta Hawks All-Star recently tried to pull one over on the Portland Trail Blazers veteran, who clearly didn't appreciate the disrespectful move and retaliated with a vicious hip check that sent the former crashing to the floor.
Ariza got a flagrant foul for his reaction, while Young (25 points and 15 assists) shook off the altercation and lead the Hawks to a 129-117 win. After the game, the two were spotted hugging it out on the court.
Trevor shared their conversation to The Athletic: “I told (Young), ‘Don’t do that s— again; not to me, at least. I mean, I’ve never made an All-Defensive team or none of that s—, and he’s an All-Star, so he can be creative by ways to get around me. But all the, like, funnies? I’m not with the funnies. I don’t like funnies.”
For Trae's part, he explained, “I use it to create space, I use it for my advantage. (Ariza) can call it what (he wants)...it’s not to showboat, it’s flair and excitement. It’s basketball and entertainment. Ain’t gotta be serious 24/7. You can smile, you can have fun, you can engage with the crowd, you can flex, you can do whatever you want. Have fun with it.”
This might be the first time that one of Young's victims actually took exception to what has become a signature highlight for him. Seriously, the nutmeg on Ariza isn't even the best one in his young NBA career:
NO BEARING, STILL AMAZING
9. JJ Redick
The fact that it happened during a preseason game against the New Orleans Pelicans, with a 35-year-old not known for his defense, puts this not-so Reddick-ulous nutmeg at the bottom of the list.
8. James Harden
Minus points for the All-Star setting and point-blank range. We've all seen Harden's defensive lowlights, but as another superstar with elite handles, he should've at least expected this from Young.
7. Josh Okogie, DeAndre Ayton, RJ Barrett
Even in a meaningless exhibition match like the Rising Stars Challenge, Trae has shown that he's a man among boys — doesn't matter if it comes at the expense of his fellow 20-somethings.
MAKE SWEET PASSES EVEN SWEETER
6. Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Domantas Sabonis
A regular seven-footer should be easy to run circles around — the same cannot be said about these highly skilled All-Star big men. Young had the benefit of decent pass recipients here, hence the modest position.
5. Ivan Rabb
In this sequence, Trae was able to turn the spotlight on a couple of G Leaguers, at the same confuse the officials (watch the scoreboard carefully). Props to the lesser-known Plumlee for the strong poster.
4. LeBron James
Anytime you catch the King off guard — and with a nutmeg at that — deserves credit no matter the outcome. Even at his ripe old age (35), LeBron still has the basketball instincts and IQ to stop such a play.
OH NO HE DIDN'T
3. Ricky Rubio
You have to consider the defense (Rubio), situation (transition), and result (and-one) to see why the relatively high ranking. It's quite similar to the Ariza nutmeg, only without the unnecessary forearm.
2. Fred VanVleet
This has to be the greatest uncompleted nutmeg in NBA history. VanVleet was actually doing a good job of sticking to Young, until the latter pulled a more complicated variation out of his bag of tricks.
1. Will Barton
The difficulty, the finish, the staredown; the Nuggets nutmeg has it all.