When the Celtics selected James Young at #17 overall in this past June’s NBA Draft, Celtics fans and Bill Simmons alike were filled with glee (even though they didn’t pick a big man).
Young was figured to be someone who can provided the Celtics with solid 3 point shooting, highlight dunks, and strong rebounding. He is also figured to be a player more stashed for the future because of his youth (only 19 years old) and lack of strength. Others, however, have argued his shooting ability and offensive talent could be needed on this Celtics team, one that figures to be one of the worst 3 point shooting teams in the entire NBA. So how will James be used this season?
Young is (likely) going to be playing behind veterans Evan Turner and Jeff Green at Small Forward, which could easily allow him to develop over the course of the year. Despite this, however, Turner and Green are players known to have serious consistency issues, and Young could be forced to play if both Green and Turner don”t bring their A game. While Young himself has had consistency issues, he is only 19 and could learn how to fix those issues over time.
As mentioned above, Green and Turner have had serious issues shooting the ball over the past few years (especially Turner); not only that, both have had serious shot selection issues, as they combined for a weak 51% true shooting percentage, pitting both among the worst in the NBA. Young is known as a player with a high basketball IQ, and one that generally takes good shots, so he can improve in this area.
However, Young has serious defensive issues. Almost every scouting video and report list his number one issue as his defense, and most teams during the 2013-14 season attacked him the most frequently of any Kentucky player. This could be a killer to early playing time, as Brad Stevens is known to favor defensively-minded players over offensively-minded ones.
So what will James Young’s role be this season? Well, even though the only person who knows now is Brad Stevens, the Celtics stand to watch James Young develop into a player who could be a key figure in possible future playoff runs.