|Second-year sharpshooter James Young strikes a pose with Evan Turner during media day.|
With the Maine Red Claws, Young showcased his sharpshooting abilities more times than once, even dropping 30-point games. His athleticism and proven ability to shoot are cause for excitement, and according to Celts GM Danny Ainge, coaches around the league are taking notice:
Ainge: "I had numerous coaches tell me James Young was the best prospect they’ve ever seen in the D-League."— Ben Rohrbach (@brohrbach) September 25, 2015
While Young's skills show obvious potential, some criticisms remain. One such criticism of the 20-year-old UK product has been his weight, but Young spent time in the offseason bulking up for his 2015-2016 campaign. Via MassLive.com's Tom Westerholm:
For his part, Young said he spent the offseason working on aspects of his game that clearly needed fine-tuning. Most notably, he discussed the strength and conditioning he went through — an important note given how easily Young's thin frame was pushed around during his rookie season.
"Absorbing the contact from bigger, stronger guys, you can't just go into the lane and be 200 pounds," he said. "You're going to be pushed over. You have to add weight, so that's what I did. I'm trying to add more. I'm not done yet."
Young was asked how much weight, exactly.
"Who knows," he said. "...We're going to have to wait and see."
Young's progress will likely remain a significant sub-plot narrative for this year's Celtics, and with good reason. Boston management and fans envision the no. 17th pick of last year's draft as a key part of the Celts' youthful rebuild. A Smart/Young backcourt could be the future, but the latter's play as a sophomore will dictate whether or not the same kind of optimistic perceptions remain.
With seemingly ready-to-contribute sniper R.J. Hunter prepared to challenge Young for playing time on a roster already chalk-full of guards, Young has all the incentive to make the most of his minutes.
Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Mary Schwalm.
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