During the 2014 NBA Draft, it appeared that the Boston Celtics got a steal with their 17th overall pick when they selected the young Kentucky Wildcat, James Young.
Coming into the draft, Young was fresh off an incredible NCAA tournament, where he helped lead Kentucky to the national championship. But since being drafted, it hasn't been such a great time for the young guy and his fans. He was involved in a car accident that cost him summer league, suffered a hamstring injury, a shoulder injury, and got the flu to top it all off. Now Young is back on the court, but not as much as we would like to see.
While he is tearing it up on the Red Claws (33 points with 9 3-pointers on Saturday), Young hasn't been seen in too much green since being drafted. Despite all the setbacks, shouldn't the Celtics be utilizing their first round pick? Well, it is not that simple.
The Celtics drafted James Young based on his promise. He had a nice freshman season in Kentucky, putting up 14.3 points per game, but was still vey underdeveloped, and he still is. Young is just 19 years old at the time, and his youth can be seen in his frame. He is 6'6'' but just 215 pounds. To say he doesn't have the NBA-type body is an understatement.
"Offense is never going to be an issue and I don't think defense is once he gets strong enough," said Stevens. "I think the biggest thing right now is that there will be some guys that he will struggle to guard, just physically, but once he continues to work the way he's working, he'll be good on both ends of the court."
His slim frame is part of the reason why he struggles on defense. While playing for the Red Claws, Young gets bullied on the defensive end because he is simply not big enough. He's got the length to be a decent stopper with a 6'11'' wingspan as a shooting guard.
Luckily, in the D-League, he gets to stay on the outside and bomb three pointers at a clip of 51.2%. But in the big leagues, he is shooting just 28.6% from the three point line.
But no matter how much we pick apart his rookie performance, we cannot forget that he is just a kid.
Brad Stevens hinted that James Young could be a part of the rotation soon.
"I think we're going to see him sooner rather than later for us," Stevens said at the TD Garden, "a lot more than we have."
While the Celtics are relatively close to an 8th seed, the ultimate goal of the season is to lose and rebuild through the draft. That being said, it wouldn't surprise me if Stevens gave Young some decent playing time since the games aren't too significant.