Getting to Know the Rookies Part #2: James Young

Photo Courtesy of Jason Decrow/Associated Press

Photo Courtesy of Jason Decrow/Associated Press

Thanks to the Brooklyn Nets last summer, the Celtics had an additional 1st round pick in Thursday night’s draft and selected at the 17th slot. According to, the Celtics selecting James Young 17th overall is the biggest steal in the draft. James Young only played one season at the University of Kentucky last season and helped them all the way to the Final Four this past March. Young has the range of an NBA pro already and he fired a lot of 3-pointers during his freshman season. Once he sharpens his fundamentals, he will be a real gift for the Celtics in the near future.

James Young stands at 6’7″ and his physical tools and perimeter shooting touch are great assets he brings to the table. He is going to have a long way to go to become a complete NBA player, but his future looks bright and will become the consistent wing scorer the Celtics have needed all season long. Young’s height and reach are reasonably good enough for him to play either the shooting guard or the small forward positions. With his physical attributes in mind, Young will be able to get off good shots and defend the perimeter on the other end of the court as well.


James Young only shot 35 percent from 3-point land last season, but he has the natural stroke to only improve that number at the next level. From what I saw at the predraft workouts, Young is more of a spot-up shooter at this point and could really become a well-rounded shooter once he is able to come off screens and off the dribble.


James Young is very capable of being a good slasher to the basket on a regular basis. Young showed some of those flashy cuts to the hoop at certain times last season, but was very absent during the Final Four. Once Young starts to gain confidence to driving to the basket, he will become a very lethal offensive weapon for the Celtics and defenders will think twice about overplaying him or committing to closing him out too much. He tends to be too dependent on his strong hand and will have to learn to use his opposite hand throughout the course of the summer to improve on slashing to the basket more frequently.


Just like any other rookie in this league, James Young will have to really earn his spot in Brad Stevens’ rotation and may not be a well polished player immediately. Once he earns his playing time, we can expect a lot of explosiveness out of Young when he stretches the floor and taking advantage of open drive opportunities. With just a few minor improvements to make, James Young will become a top-tier wing in this league with full potential to make a few All-Star teams. Overall, the Celtics deserve an A- grade for grabbing James Young with the 17th overall pick.


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