If you told me a month ago that James Young would make this Celtics roster outright, with no trades thinning the ranks, I would have said you were crazy. Well anybody on team #FreeJamesYoung can have their day in the sun, because the season starts tomorrow and Mr. Young is an official member of the 2016-17 Boston Celtics.
A change in attitude seems to be the biggest reason that Young was able to carve himself a spot on the roster. Since being drafted in the 1st round of the 2014 NBA Draft (17th overall), his uneven play and level of effort have left questions on whether Danny Ainge wasted a first round pick on the promising young player. Young showed some flashes on brilliance in the D-league and even a few times in the big show when he got chance to play, but the questions of his commitment to improve have followed him since his rookie season.
Back in July, Young was essentially benched in the summer league and apparently that, along with his roster spot becoming a question mark, was a big part of what spurred him to change his attitude. Via Scott Souza of the Providence Journal:
"People kept telling me: ‘Hope you have a great season. Hope you make the team,’ " he said. "I just got tired of hearing that. It just motivated me right after summer league to get in the gym, get in here, keep working hard. I didn’t take any days off."
The media piling on was another motivating factor:
"I needed a kick in the face," he said, "something to just wake me up, and a lot of the media did it."
Danny Ainge was very frank with Young when he gave him the news Monday morning:
"I told him this morning that I think this is the first time he’s earned anything in his life," Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said. "He earned this by his play. He has to keep earning it."
Via Taylor Snow, NBA.com:
Ainge added, “He had to come out and win a spot with some good competition, and he did. He just needs to keep doing what he’s been doing. He’s had a good six weeks of consistent play, hard work and professionalism, and that’s what he needs to continue to do.”
Things weren't all rosey for James though on Monday. His making the roster also meant his good buddy, RJ Hunter, was the odd man out:
James Young beat out RJ Hunter: "It's real tough, man. That's like my best friend so it's tough when something like this happens."— Jay King (@ByJayKing) October 24, 2016
With a logjam of talent in his way, it's going to be very hard for Young to prove himself on the floor this season. Barring some kind of seismic trade, there's very little chance that he can make an impact this season for the Celtics. But the key for him is to stay ready for whenever his number is called, because that would really cement a change in attitude for number 13.
Photo Credit - Boston.com
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkAL401
Mark Allison 10/25/2016 02:00:00 PM Tweet Edit