James Young may have been a wasted draft pick


Zane D'Souza

With the NBA season starting, many people in the Rochester area had their eyes on the Boston Celtics’ James Young. Being a product of Rochester High for a season, many wanted to see him succeed. However, this has yet to happen six games into the season. Though it may be premature to judge a rookie based off the first two weeks of his career, the lack of being put into the game shows that Celtics’ coach Brad Stevens does not yet trust the 17th overall pick. Part of this could be because Young has two players ahead of him in Avery Bradley and Marcus Thornton who have been tested, and have produced for the most part in their careers. Stevens probably wants to wait things out and give Young time to develop. But, Young’s preseason statistics, where he was given more minutes, shows where he struggles.

In the two preseason games that Young played in, he averaged 7.5 points per game, according to ESPN. Though this is not bad for a newcomer to the change of pace in the NBA, the real trouble lies in his shooting percentages. His combined field-goal percentage was 31 percent. His three-point shooting, which was his major strength in college, has been at 11 percent. For a player whose role will be to knock down open shots, this will not help his cause of getting more minutes.

Another reason for Young’s struggles lies in his lack of defensive ability. His long wingspan should give him an advantage when guarding players at his position, but he cannot seem to be able to combine that with defensive principles. According to NBA.com’s draft profile of Young, he is a “ball-watcher and oftentimes put himself and his team in a bind because of it.” At his position, which has some of the most prolific scorers in the league, defense is a must. Otherwise, as NBA.com said, he will get burned constantly.

A route that the Celtics may take with Young is sending him to their developmental league team, the Maine Red Claws. Here, he could get major minutes and instruction that would allow him to develop his game. If he delivers at this level, the team can call him back up and eventually insert him into games. With Young being a first round pick, it is unlikely he would stay with the D-League team all season.

Young still has a long career ahead of him if he can turn these weaknesses into strengths, or at least mask them. The talent is there to him being a productive NBA player. He has the ability to contribute, but will not be given the opportunity without better shot selection, and a higher defensive IQ. If he does not make capitalize on making these better, the Celtics may have wasted a draft pick.