Can James Young Prove Himself in the D League?

Mar 16, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard James Young (13) drives the ball against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kyle Singler (5) in the second half at TD Garden. Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Celtics 130-109. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard James Young (13) drives the ball against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kyle Singler (5) in the second half at TD Garden. Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Celtics 130-109. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /
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James Young is running out of options and opportunities to prove himself to the Boston Celtics

James Young is still one of the youngest players on the Boston Celtics, but it continues to feel more and more like his time with the team is running out. Young has had many different stints in the D League and, at times, has looked quite impressive. At this point, however, it is hard to imagine Young doing anything more in the D League that could propel him to a roster spot.

This puts Young into quite a bind. He has no chance of proving himself in the NBA because of Boston’s great guard depth. The D League is the only place Young can have the kind of role where he can prove himself. That being said, with all the opportunities he’s had against the lesser competition, there is not anything he can do at that level to convince the Celtics about his ability to play in the NBA.

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When the Celtics drafted Young they knew they were going to have to be patient with him, and they have shown all indications of remaining patient with their young players. The problem for Young is the lack of progress. It feels as though he has gone through the same process of minimal hype that disappears as soon as the real games start.

Young has been given all the time he needs by the Celtics to develop, but he cannot expect that to continue. If he continues this trend with the way he has played in the D League, then the Celtics will be forced to cut ties with him. Even if he is able to step it up as a standout player in the D League, that will still not be enough to guarantee anything.

If he manages to step up in which ever opportunities are given to him (which is unlikely to be in the NBA), then all he will have done is catch up to some of the guards lowest on the depth chart. Even R.J Hunter has shown more promise than Young, and he was also understood to be a work in progress on the defensive end.

The Celtics are not going to throw away Young until they know exactly what they can get out of him, but the longer he takes to break out, the harder it will be to trust him. Young has done nothing to establish any level of consistency, and certainly no trust. Especially on a Celtics team that is now expected to contend in the Eastern Conference, he will not be given any real minutes in the NBA to prove his worth.

Dec 12, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard forward Jeremy Lamb (3) looks to drive past Boston Celtics guard forward James Young (13) during the first half of the game at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 12, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard forward Jeremy Lamb (3) looks to drive past Boston Celtics guard forward James Young (13) during the first half of the game at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports /

Young has put himself in a difficult position. If the Celtics want to take a chance on young potential, then they still have options that are better then Young. Demetrius Jackson also has some high end potential as a three point shooter, and could easily jump over Young on the depth chart. The Celtics are also a bad spot for Young to try and break out. They have some of the best guard depth in the league, and they have impact players on both ends of the court.

Young is yet to show the Celtics any indications of doing anything better than the guards ahead of him on the depth chart, and those guards ahead of him have been good enough that he cannot surpass them in the D League. The NBA is the only place Young can start to catch up to his competition and there simply are not enough minutes for him in the NBA.

Young has found a front office that is willing to wait for him, but he is yet to do anything on his end to reward that trust. The Celtics have been able to accommodate him for multiple seasons now, but time will eventually run out for anyone. Young has put himself into the worst position he has been in throughout his career and he needs to establish a high level of trust that cannot be achieved in the D League.

The Celtics have done a great job of keeping their options open at the guard position. They have been solidifying their depth since the Brad Stevens era began and they will continue to hold onto any piece that they believe has potential value.

Young still has time to develop but that development now needs to do wonders for him. He needs to be better in every facet of the game. He has shown flashes of the offense but the consistency is non existent. He has done nothing to suggest he can be an NBA defender, but that may be where his age could be a factor.

Physical development could be a difference maker for Young. That, however, is another thing that cannot be proven in the D League. Physically, the level of competition the D League cannot be compared to the NBA, and there cannot be trust in his development until he demonstrates it can translate to the NBA.

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Young remains on the team and as long as it stays that way there can be hope. Unfortunately, that hope continues to feel more and more unrealistic as Young continues to fall further and further behind on the depth chart.