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James Young Comes Alive in Indiana

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James Young got his first serious run of the season. He showed why it won’t be his last.

Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

James Young is alive. He played at least 15 minutes for the 15th time in his career and came away with a career-high 12 points. The scoring was great, but it wasn’t the story. It’s his composure and awareness that are moving his career forward.

Young is finally playing with his head up and his eyes open. He can see passes that advance the play, rather than push that responsibility off to the next guy. He is reading the floor on both ends and attacking openings with confidence.

“I've never felt like this. It feels great to just be able to go out and play basketball and not worry about anything,” Young said per @Celtics.

“James’ activity and Terry’s activity were obviously noticeable,” Brad Stevens said.

His energy on 50-50 balls and rebounds was one of the main reasons he beat R.J. Hunter for a roster spot. But seeing him create well off the bounce and hit threes in the rhythm of the offense shows why he may stay.

“One of the things I told James was to be ready yesterday and he ever got in when it was still a game,” Stevens said. “But I told him, ‘One of the next two games, you’ll probably be really impactful.’

He is shooting the ball well, which was a bewilderingly novel idea for someone who has always had a pretty stroke. Regardless of how long it took to get here, it’s happening, and it’s working in real NBA games.

His shot wasn’t what kept him off the floor; rather, it was his inconsistent defense. He struggled to stay in front of faster wings or bigger swings dating as recently as the summer league. But Saturday in Indiana, he showed why he will be back in the rotation in New Orleans Monday. Young is here to stay….until he gets packaged in a trade. Either way, he is starting to earn his keep.

“James had a couple of moments in the preseason that I thought he learned from, that helped him play better defensively tonight,” Stevens said. “I thought he was extremely active and he has always been a shooter and a mover. So with guys that are drivers around him, you just want to be able to space and play, and if he’s open he’ll make it. If not, he’ll pass.”

And he’ll make some pretty plays too.