In his first significant game action this season, James Young came out swinging. Last nights 105-99 win over the Pacers was a back and forth battle, and Celtics coach Brad Stevens - still without two of his key players - had to go deep in his bench to overcome the Pacers on the road. Young's number was called and he delivered; scoring 12 points on 5 of 6 from the field to go along with 3 boards, an assist, and a pair of steals in just under 16 minutes on the floor. He's had some solid performances in the past, but this was the first time he was an integral part of a Celtics victory. In fact, he was awarded his first ever player of the game:
Young's improvement has not been lost on Stevens, who said yesterday he's seen a big improvement in James in practice. He told him to be ready because he was going to be needed this weekend. Via Chris Forsberg of ESPN:
"I told James to be ready [Friday against the Knicks]. He never got in when it was still a game, but I told him one of the next two games he'll probably be really impactful," Stevens told reporters in Indiana. "He's shot it at such a different level than he shot it two years ago when he got here, as far as accuracy in workouts, in practice, and everything else. He's certainly always a capable shooter with a beautiful stroke, but he's really really worked hard on becoming accurate. He either shoots it or moves it and I thought, with that group, that was a good thing."
It's clear that James has worked very hard to improve his game. After his wake up call getting benched in the summer league, Young knew he had to bring it if he was going to make this Celtics team. Most people counted him out, myself included, but maybe winning the battle against RJ Hunter for that final roster spot is exactly what he needed to see that hard work does pay off. A little confidence can go a long way, and it seems that Young has got a little swagger in his step now:
Asked James Young about his confidence. He responds by telling me, "I've never felt like this." He is DRIPPING confidence with body language— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) November 13, 2016
Young hopes to continue to build on yesterday's solid performance, and continue to help the team whenever his number is called. Via Taylor Snow of Celtics.com:
“It feels great to just able to go out there and play basketball and not think about anything; not worry about anything and just go out there and contribute to the team. It took a few years for me to do that, but we’ll see if we can keep rolling with it.”
It'll be interesting to see how often James will be able to see the floor when Jae Crowder and Al Horford return. Jaylen Brown got only 7 minutes in last nights game, and Gerald Green was a healthy scratch. It would seem that if Young can continue to contribute when he's called upon there is certainly an opportunity for him to seize a more regular role this season if he's up to the task.
Photo Credit - Celtics.com
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Mark Allison 11/13/2016 11:05:00 AM Tweet Edit