Name: James Young Age: 18 (19 in August) School: Kentucky
Height: 6’6 Weight: 215 Projected Position: SG
14.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.7 apg, 0.8 spg, 1.9 tpg (32.4 minutes per game)
40.7 FG%, 70.6 FT%, 34.9 3FG%
53.6 TS%, 49.8 eFG%, 23.4 USG%
SKILLS & ATHLETIC BREAKDOWN
Young can be a very good perimeter shooter, though very inconsistent. Generally, he has very good form on his jumper, with a high, quick release, good follow-through, and range out to the NBA three-point line. However, he has a tendency at times to fade away on his shot, even when there isn’t a defender who could get to him quickly. When he does this, he usually compensates by making the shot stronger, and the result is a long shot. When he has time to get his feet set, he is a very good spot-shooter, and his size allows him to get good looks over many defenders. While he gets square to the basket quickly off the catch, he needs to work on not rushing his release if he feels pressured. Young uses screens well to set up his jumper, but he needs to work on using his dribble more to clear space for his jumper, especially when he has a man one-on-one. Young can move well without the ball, using screens and cuts l to create space. However, he is only good at making the 1st move to find space for his shot and he needs to work moving and finding other ways if his first look isn’t there. He needs to work on coming off screens tighter, giving him more separation to shoot. His shot selection wasn’t bad, and he often found himself with many good looks.
Young can be effective when he looks to get into the lane and to the basket, but that only really applies when he goes left. He has an above-average first step, and he uses a combination of long strides and body control to get by defenders. He doesn’t shy away from contact when he is in the lane, and he has shown that if the help is there quickly, he can hit the floater or short jumper. He can be a creative finisher around the basket, though he will almost always look to finish with his left hand, even if the defender is on that side of him. Also, Young can have trouble getting good shots against long defenders if they don’t foul him. Young prefers to go to his left when attacking the basket, to the point he forces plays that way. He does a good job keeping his head up and seeing the defense when he gets into the lane most of the time, and if the defense helps quickly, Young can find open teammates. He has an improving mid-range jumper if he chooses to only take a few steps past his defender, though he needs to remember to get himself square to the basket when he is shooting. Young should work on attacking the basket more off of screens, especially learning how to come off them tight enough to gain a step on his defender or force a switch.
Young is an average ballhandler with his left hand, but his right hand needs a good deal of work. With his left, he has decent control, keeps the ball low and close to his body, though he needs to remember to keep his head up when driving into traffic. Young can also be a bit erratic when he goes to his right, and will often stop or pull up, or force the ball left even when he has the right side open. He doesn’t have many advanced handles yet, and will certainly need some for the next level if he wants to get to the basket. Also, he needs to work on using his dribble effectively to make space for his jumper. Young sees the floor well, though his passes need to be crisper and more on target. He can find teammates when he draws help defenders off of penetration but the passes can be slow in getting to their target. Young should work on making post entry passes from the wing, especially when it can help him get space for his shot.
Free Throw Shooting
Young was an average free throw shooter during the season, but there is no reason he shouldn’t be much better. He has a consistent routine, fluid shooting motion and follow-through. On occasion, he will rush some shots or seem to have some kind of lapse which throws off his motion, but the tools are there to be a mid-80’s + percentage shooter. He gets to the free throw line inconsistently (177 times on 450 field goal attempts), mainly because he will often spend most of his time out on the perimeter, but when he attacks the basket, he does a good job drawing contact.
Perimeter Defense (On/Off Ball)
Young is a below-average on-ball defender, though he has the raw skills to become much better if he works at it. He positions himself well between his man and the basket, but his lateral movement is awkward, even over short distances. He needs to work on his stance when defending, though he has shown he can do it at times. Young also needs to improve on anticipating and reacting to his man’s movements well, as well as not falling for quick dribble or shot fakes. He has the potential to guard multiple positions once he improves how he defends. Young has the length to disrupt passing lanes and close well on shooters, but he needs to react quicker. Young has to work on how he handles getting through screens, both on and off the ball, especially knowing when to get over screens and when he can give some room. Off the ball, Young generally positions himself well, though he can find himself drifting too much towards help position, as well as becoming more fixated on the ball and losing sight of his man. He can be a good help defender, and his length can help in trapping situations. He needs to work on navigating through screens off the ball, especially getting caught in the lane area, and work on not letting his man get a room for a good shot. His defensive awareness needs work, though he had improved some by the end of the year.
Young can be a good rebounder, using his athleticism well to get to missed shots and doing a good job securing the ball. However, he doesn’t always work hard at it, and he was surrounded by some good rebounders on his team. He needs to make sure he looks to box out, and he has to do a better job anticipating where rebounds will go and work for position. Young doesn’t have the strength right now to battle with much bigger players for rebounds, so he needs to rely on quickness and leaping ability. On the offensive end, Young’s athleticism can allow him to make plays if someone doesn’t put a body on him, though he spends too much time on the perimeter to really be effective.
Young is very good in transition, especially running one of the wings. If running on the wing in transition, Young is capable of spotting up behind the 3-point line, he can take the ball to the basket, or he can make a line for the rim and finish big. He isn’t a great ballhandler, but he can help push the ball on the break.
Young’s reputation heading into the season was that of a great shooter, and early indications were that he was the best player during Kentucky practices. The results over the course of the season were very mixed. At times, he showed the jumper that everyone had talked about, but he was way too inconsistent to be effective. He ended up being more of a volume scorer – putting up big points when he took a lot of shots. He also showed that he can be a strong scorer off the dribble, though he was limited to going left, but often stayed on the perimeter (More than 50% of his field goal attempts were threes). Defensively, he was an average defender when he played his best, but more often than not, he was below-average. He had trouble containing players off the dribble, and he could be slow to react to shooters. There were signs of improvement in some areas as the season went on, but defense wasn’t one of them. The most important thing for him will be to find some consistency on the offensive end as he continues to work on his defense. If he doesn’t, it will be hard for any team to give him the playing time he needs to improve early on.
Draft Value: Mid-Late 1st – #19-26
Young’s ability to shoot the three, combined with his size and big-time athleticism will get him plenty of looks from teams. Still, he has so many areas he needs to improve on, that it isn’t worth taking him with a higher pick, especially when there are many similar shooting guard options available in the D-League. There is a good deal of potential here, but he is a very limited player unless he improves his weak areas quickly. Worth the investment later on in the 1st round.
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Photo: AP/James Roberson