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I may have helped motivate James Young to be a better player

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David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

If James Young becomes a good or great NBA player, you all can thank me. Not his teammates, not his coaches, not his GMs,  I did it.

Ok, ok, I may be exaggerating a bit for effect.

It turns out that my little article innocently asking "Does James Young have the work ethic to succeed in the NBA?" (and other social media comments like it) made its way back to him.  (the ESPN article below specifically mentions the article and links back to it)

Here is James Young's reaction.

Boston Celtics' James Young working to silence the doubters - Boston Celtics Blog - ESPN

"I see it, I hear it," Young told after a recent morning workout at the Celtics' training facility. "It just motivates me. When they talk about me like that -- man, I got here for a reason. I have the drive. I'm not worried about anything. I'm just out here trying to get better."

I tell you what, if I helped fuel his fire even just a teeny, tiny little bit, I'm super stoked because it makes me feel like I helped.

For the record, my intentions with that original article were not to bash or badmouth the kid.  I've never met him, I don't know him, and I don't know very much about him personally.  If anything, as a Celtics fan through and through, I'm highly motivated to root for him.

However, I'm not going to shy away from a negative angle if I feel like a legitimate question is worth asking.  I had heard enough comments and remarks about his work ethic that it seemed prudent to ask if it was beginning to be a problem.  Turns out, he even admits to needing to get into the gym more.

Young admits his work ethic might not have been at the level it needed to be when he arrived in the NBA. The weight room wasn't a top priority for a player who previously got by on pure skill and athleticism. But what a sobering rookie experience taught him was that he needed to get stronger to defend multiple positions, that he had to find new ways to generate his own offense, and that he had to work harder than he ever had to simply get on the floor.

The article goes on to provide positive words of encouragement from Brad Stevens and lists all the usual legitimate reasons why Young didn't have a great opportunity to get on track last year.

Ultimately it doesn't matter what I write and it doesn't matter what anyone says.  It doesn't even matter what he says. What it boils down to is what he goes out and does.  I'm of the opinion that he's an extremely talented player and if he puts in the work (in particular given the positive environment that he's in right now) then the sky's the limit.

That's oversimplifying because there are several other factors like basketball IQ, Danny's summer moves, Stevens' system, injuries, and plain pure luck.  But usually good players that work hard tend to succeed in the NBA and I'm rooting for that to happen with James Young.

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