After recent injuries to both RJ Hunter and Marcus Smart (somewhat recent), James Young has found himself a role in this deep Boston Celtics rotation. So far, fans and especially coaches have taken notice. Via Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe:
“He’s doing a lot of little things that probably don’t show up in a box score and your average person might not even notice,” Celtics assistant coach Jay Larranaga said. “He was a 19-year-old coming from college basketball, where NBA concepts are new to all guys. Marcus Smart is probably the only rookie I’ve ever been around that came in with almost the corporate knowledge of how you defend and how important help-side defense is. Most guys grow up just worrying about guarding their own man.”
There’s never been much doubt about Young’s offensive ability and upside. He’s a long, athletic scorer with a pure shooting stroke from outside. Where he’s really impressed over this last 4 game stretch, where he’s averaged about 17 minutes per, is on the defensive end.
While nobody is dubbing him the next Kawhi Leonard on that side of the ball, it’s great to see him not “hurting” the team like he was earlier in his NBA career. It has essentially been the “Maine” reason he’s spent most of his pro career as a Red Claw. Former Celtic Gerald Wallace even called Young out on his effort to improve that aspect of his game last season.
With his improved defense and obvious scoring ability, and a healthier Hunter expected to be available tomorrow night, it begs the question, who gets the nod in the rotation?
#Celtics Brad Stevens: RJ Hunter should be good to go tomorrow. James Young has played well. PT among them will be determined game by game.
A rather neutral response from Brad Stevens, BIG SURPRISE RIGHT? In my opinion, if you had to make the choice, you ride the hot hand in James Young until he gives you a reason not to. But ideally, I’d love to have them both in the rotation. Having two lengthy wings out on the perimeter to disrupt passing lanes should only help our already impressive team defense, not to mention the obvious outside threat they offer on offense. However, when Smart comes back, they both might find a seat next to each other. Until then, it will be fun to watch who steps up and really earns that role.
Who do you think is the better immediate option of the two players moving forward?
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