NBA Draft 2014 Scouting Profile: James Young

Our draft previews conclude with Kentucky's James Young, a raw talent with great range and an excellent looking jumper but who had minimal defensive success or intensity.
By | 0 Comments | Feb 28, 2019

James Young

NBA Position: SF

General Information: 18 year old freshman, played at Kentucky. From Rochester, Michigan

Measurables: 6'7", 213 lbs, 7'0″ wingspan, 8'8″ standing reach

2013-14 Season Statistics: 14.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 1.9 TOPG (32.4 minutes per contest) – 40.7% FG, 70.6% FT, 34.9% 3FG, 53.6% TS

Summary: Young is fairly raw but entices with great range, an excellent looking jumper and above-average length and quickness. His defense intensity and awareness were both seriously lacking, and he'd be a risk for a win-now team needing immediate help, but if coached to correct his defensive errors he's got great overall potential.

Offensive Breakdown: Young is first and foremost a shooter (78% of his shots were jumpshots, and 50% were three pointers) and while he struggled with consistency all season long, he flashed excellent potential. He normally showed very good form on his jumpshot, and his 7'0 wingspan and above-average verticality keeps the ball away from defenders. Young has a tendency to fade away on his shots, but was surprisingly effective at it. Most importantly, he's an exceptional catch-and-shoot player-as DraftExpress' Matt Kamalsky points out, Young had 199 catch-and-shoot shots, which accounts for 44% of his total shots.

Since he was part of such a sporadic and inconsistent offense, it's important to note Young drew a lot of double teams. He may not have gotten the national attention that Julius Randle or the Harrison twins received, but on the court defenses often looked at Young as the Wildcat's most dangerous threat. I expect in a consistent NBA offense where he isn't the top scorer, Young will produce with higher efficiency. The number of contested jumpers he took doesn't speak well of his shot selection, and this is a concern going forward.

While he didn't show great toughness in all aspects of his game, Young attacked the basket without fear of contact. He showed solid body control, and with his wingspan and 35' max vertical, he had some excellent finishes at the rim. He needs to add muscle to keep this as an effective weapon in the NBA, but he showed a good ability to hit a floater when the defenses rotated in too quickly. He went to the line 4.4 times a game, solid for a perimeter oriented player.

Young is still just 18 and has plenty of time to be molded into an NBA offense. I believe that with his catch-and-shoot abilities and three point range, he'll be surprisingly effective in his first few years now that he won't draw as much defensive attention. Combine that with his toughness as a slasher, solid verticality and length, and he has a well-rounded offensive skill set.

Defensive Breakdown: Young is not an NBA ready defender, and he showed the lack of intensity and focus that also effected most of his non-Randle teammates. He never moved fluidly as a defender, and didn't show great reaction to the offense even as he guarded slower and shorter players. Everything from foot work, and defensive stance all need work. With his 7'0 wingspan, his lack of steals (1.4% rate) and blocks (.8% rate) are also concerning.

With his solid lateral quickness, above-average length and nice verticality, Young has the tools to be an above-average small forward defender. He showed better effort later in the season and did made some big defensive plays against Wisconsin (who couldn't match any of the Wildcats athletically) in the Final Four. He needs a top defensive coach to help his court awareness and get him interested in guarding on a consistent basis, and not just in the biggest games.

On the glass, Young was solid but again lacked full effort. He'd show toughness on occasion, and his length leads him some advantage, but he never produced consistently. His defensive rebounding rate of 11% was comparable to Andrew Wiggins (12.3%), but he was miles below his rivals on the offensive glass with a 3.7% rate-the second worst among small forwards.

Intangibles: As with any Kentucky prospect not named Julius Randle, the Wildcats' inconsistent year masked Young's full NBA potentials. In truth, it may have been better if he'd stayed at Kentucky for another year, where he could have shown better consistency without remaining the team's top offensive option.

While he was never efficient, Young did show visual improvement in the NCAA Tournament, making good decisions and playing with toughness on both ends (17 points in the Final Four and 20 points in the Championship loss). It didn't translate into better statistics, but given the rocky season his tough play in the final five games was a very encouraging sign for the 18 year old.

Fit with Sacramento: Young wouldn't be a great fit for Sacramento and their push for a Playoff berth. While I mentioned his offensive efficiency should rise thanks to his catch-and-shoot abilities, he'll offer little defensive help immediately. A selection of Young could net the Kings a long-term backup behind Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore and maybe an eventual replacement for Gay, but I don't think the Kings would take such a raw defensive player.

Young would be best with a veteran team where he could figure out just how big an offensive weapon he can become. He doesn't have the fantastic offensive gifts to become a superstar scorer, but if paired on a team with great spacing and a top scoring big man, he might become a great 3rd option. He'll be limited until he gives full effort on defense, but he has the tools of a top 10 selection.

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