James Young needs to do more in the summer league
James Young remains one of the more intriguing and tougher to gauge players on the Boston Celtics. He has been with the team for two seasons, but remains the youngest guard on the team. He was drafted for his high end potential and at just 18 years old, nobody expected him to have a role any time soon coming out of college.
Now, it feels as though time may finally be running out for Young. He has seen multiple rookies jump over him on the depth chart and the excuse of his age will only work for so long. Normally, players with NBA experience are expected to dominate in the summer league and once again it feels as though Young remains far from where he should be.
It is tough to compare the two considering Terry Rozier has less NBA experience but is older. The bottom line, however, is that Rozier has imposed his will in the summer league. He has taken the lesser competition and at times has abused them. Young, on the other hand, has shown flashes of great scoring but always seems to fall behind.
There is no doubting that the Celtics need a scorer like Young has the potential to become and they have aways been patient because of his age. That being said, the front office is starting to grow impatient. According to Boston.com, Danny Ainge had this to say about Young “There are some exceptions, like James Young is an exception. He was drafted at 18 years old, and we have to be patient with him, but now it’s time. But competition is a good thing. It brings out the best in these guys”.
The Celtics are finally seeing the results of all the work they put into their rebuild, and they need to see more form Young. On a weak and depleted roster, there was room to accommodate and hold onto Young while waiting for him to develop. Now, the level of competition has increased and the expectations have increased, and Young continues to feel at least one step behind everyone.
At this point in his career, even at just 20 years old, Young should be dominating the summer league. Even without significant minutes, he has spent too much time with an NBA team to not be able to impose his will against sub par competition. We saw it last year with how Smart dominated and now we are seeing it with Rozier. Even Mickey has had his share of dominance against worse competition with ferocious shot blocking at all levels of competition he has faced so far.
The Celtics’ summer league roster has been all over the place. Multiple players are missing games and it would be difficult for any one player to thoroughly dominate throughout. The problem is that at no point is Young looking like a high end summer league player. Once again, there are flashes of volume scoring from all over the court, but he never sustains it and continues to be a glaring liability on the defensive end. He has hot streaks, but at this level of competition, he needs to do a much better job of sustaining the limited success he has.
The Celtics knew that Young would have to develop physically and would need to make drastic changes on the defensive end. So far, there are no indications that Young can be more than a liability on the defensive end and even if he starts scoring more consistently, that will always prevent him from cracking the rotation.
Young knows that this can be a make or break offseason for him and while he is yet to do enough to earn a roster spot, there is still time. Evan after the summer league, he can fall in the favor of the coaches, but he needs to step things up, because what he is offering right now is simply not enough. It was not enough to get a spot on a team that was in a complete rebuild, and it certainly will not be enough on a team that is now expected to compete as a top team in the eastern conference.
After sitting out last game, the hope is that Young will still get the opportunities he needs to convince the coaches. Young has not been awful for the Celtics when he has played in the summer league, but that is far from enough on a team with great guard depth. As it stands now, Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier are clearly above him. Even R.J Hunter has done a better job of showing his potential as a three point shooter and Demetrius Jackson is coming out of college maybe more NBA ready than Young has ever been.
Young has failed to do enough in previous years and the older he gets the higher the expectations are. Young needs to make sure he takes matters into his own hands and takes on the kind of dominance that Rozier has been showcasing in the summer league.
Given his age, Young may continue to get opportunities in the D League or in future summer leagues, but we have now reached a point where he needs to seriously worry about losing his roster spot entirely. The Celtics will only carry Young for so long and with how important this offseason has to be for him, he is running out of time to prove his worth in the summer league.