James Young has been buried on the bench for the majority of his career and watched two rookies shoot past him on the depth chart this season. However, the Celtics were short handed last night and Brad Stevens called upon the youngster to give him some minutes and he stepped up with a very solid performance.
Young was drafted to be a 3 point shooter that could stretch the floor, so you would tend to think that if he was going to have a "breakout" game, it would involve a barrage of long distance bombs. Yet last night he missed all 3 of his three point attempts and still made positive contributions to a very solid team win.
He rebounded (3 boards) passed well (2 assists) and generally hustled and usually got to the right spots on the court (I only saw someone point him to the right place once!). One play in particular stood out where Young defended the ball handler in transition, disrupted the pass, which led to a fast break going the other direction.
There was also this driving layup that showed some of his scoring versatility.
James Young with a tough finish on the break. https://t.co/jv5k50JqMW— Brian Robb (@CelticsHub) December 8, 2015
Here's Brad Stevens on James.
"James has had a rough go about it because there have been times when he hasn’t played as well and R.J. and [rookie] Terry [Rozier] actually came in and have done a lot of good things for us on given nights," Stevens said. "It’s been tough. But [Young has] just kinda stayed the course and he’s worked. I’ve kinda sensed that, on this trip, he’s just ready. And I don’t know why I say that. I thought he played well in practice, I thought he shot the heck out of it every time I’ve watched. Then we needed a body. I just felt like with their big guards and the fact that we were [switching on screens on Ryan Anderson], he made the most sense."
None of this is to suggest that Young is finally ready to contribute in big ways on a regular basis. In fact, one RJ Hunter returns from injury, Young might find himself shuttling back and forth from Boston to Maine again.
Still, progress is progress and it is always nice to see a young player with potential start to show some signs of developing into a real NBA player. If and when the coach needs to call upon him for certain matchups or as an injury replacement, it is nice to know that he can contribute.
So what I'm trying to say is that James is Young but daily growing and that is a good thing.