Every weekday until Sept. 7, we'll take a look at each player at the Celtics roster: Their strengths and their weaknesses, their ceiling and their floor. We continue today with James Young.
BOSTON -- Like most one-and-done players who come into the NBA, James Young had a lot to learn about the game after Boston selected him in 2014.
So it’s no surprise he has had a rocky start to his pro career, one that is very much in limbo right now.
Boston has 16 players with fully guaranteed contracts this season (including Young), one more than the NBA allows.
Barring a trade, someone is going to be cut loose before the start of the season. The 21-year-old Young is among those potentially on his way out.
But for those who envision his exit a foregone conclusion, that would be a mistake. While he hasn’t had the kind of NBA start many expected, his fate will be decided in the coming months in what should be one of the more competitive training camps we’ve seen in a quite some time.
The Ceiling for Young: Celtics active roster
It’s hard to say how big a role injuries have played in James Young’s development, but there is no question they've been a significant factor.
It seems he's been playing catchup ever since the Celtics drafted him with the 17th overall pick in 2014, when he was projected by most NBA executives to be a top-10 pick.
This summer was supposed to be an opportunity for him to break out and assert himself and show some of the promise so many teams felt he had in him, prior to his arrival in the NBA.
But he was limited -- just like his two previous summers -- because of minor injuries. Still, he managed to get on the floor for six Summer League games. He averaged 7.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game. He shot just 32.8 percent from the field, but connected on 43.4 percent of his 3s.
The long-range shooting was especially important for Young, ksince knocking down shots will go far in his efforts at carving out a role for himself on this roster.
The Floor for Young: Roster spot on another NBA team
While Young has every reason to remain optimistic about his future in the NBA, his time as a Celtic may be coming to a close soon. At 21, Young still has lots of potential as a player. And having seen such little action thus far, he doesn’t have the kind of physical wear and tear that a player in his third NBA season might experience.
But the biggest problem for Young is that while he has improved, he hasn’t done enough for the Celtics to feel, at this point, completely comfortable with where his game is at and where it’s headed.
And when you start looking at the analytics surrounding Young’s game, the picture doesn’t get any prettier.
He's only averaged 6.9 minutes per game, so the sample size in which to measure his play is relatively small. But there’s just too much data indicating Young didn’t make the most of the few minutes he received.
Usage percentage examines the percentage of offensive possessions that a player uses while on the court. Young had a team-low 9.5 usage percentage, which speaks to how, when he did play, he wasn’t very involved in what the Celtics were looking to do offensively.
And that’s a bad, bad sign for a player drafted in large part because of his offensive skills.
In addition, his Pace (possessions per 48 minutes) was 99.00, which was dead last among Boston’s perimeter players.
Based on his past with the Celtics and how things went this summer, it’s safe to say Young will need an impressive camp to just make the team’s 15-man opening night roster. He's had moments when he looked like he belongs out there. But those times have been few and far between, which is why among players with guaranteed contracts for this season, he appears to be the one most likely on his way out.