Celtics

Celtics

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Boston Celtics are no different than most NBA teams in that there’s a healthy dose of optimism flowing through the veins of all their players right now. 

But few seem to have as much pep in their step these days as second-year wing James Young, who comes into camp after a not-so-great rookie season.

A chunk of that optimism stems from where he’s at to start camp now – healthy – which was not the case last season. 

“Night and day,” Young told CSNNE.com when asked about this camp compared to where he was a year ago. “Everything about me is better now; my health, my strength … I’m ready to go.”

A car accident weeks prior to the 2014 NBA draft not only factored in Young’s draft stock falling, but also led to him missing all of the Celtics’ summer league, which put him further behind than most rookies when training camp opened.

Toss in the fact that the then-19 year old was so young, there was little to no chance that he could play his way into even halfway meaningful role.

Fast forward to today where Young has added about 20 pounds of muscle since draft night, has shown growth defensively with the Celtics’ summer league team and more than anything else, mentally feels he can play at this level, which wasn’t necessarily the case last season.

“With the injuries and not playing and going back and forth to the D-League, it does affect your confidence a little bit,” said Young, who was selected with the 17th overall pick in the 2014 draft by Boston. “But for me, the big thing is being healthy. I feel good about my chances out there when I’m healthy.”

 

Young’s game significantly improving from a year ago would be a huge plus for the Celtics, especially if he can start knocking down shots – something he was expected to do coming out of Kentucky. 

However, Young fit right in with a Celtics team that struggled mightily a year ago when it came to shooting. 

Boston ranked in the bottom 10 in both field goal (.443, 21st) and 3-point shooting percentage (.327, 27th).

Young’s 25.8 percent shooting on 3s didn’t help, either.

However, Young did seem very comfortable when it came to shooting early or late in the shot clock. 

While the sample size is relatively small, Young shot 57.1 percent from the field when there were 18-22 seconds remaining on the 24-second shot clock. And his effective field goal percentage in that period of time was .714.

To put that in perspective, the team eFG% in that scenario was just .561.

And with the 24-second shot clock having 4-7 seconds remaining, Young shot 66.7 percent from the field with an effective field goal percentage of .831.

Young’s eFG% in this scenario almost doubled the team average (.433). 

Again, the sample size was just 31 games and Young’s minutes were limited most nights, but the numbers did show that the ability for him to make shots is there.

But can he do it consistently? 

That remains to be seen.

And while there are a seemingly infinite number of reasons that contributed to his struggles as a rookie, his inability to make an impact in training camp last season stands out.

He expects things to be different this time around.

“I have a lot of confidence going into this season,” he said. “And our team is going to do really well this year. It’s not about me; it’s about getting wins.”

While that is true, Young knows that the better he performs, the better Boston’s chances become of improving on the success they enjoyed in the latter stages of last season. 

And the best way for him to do that is to continue focusing on improving his play defensively, and do a better job of taking what the defense will allow him to do offensively. 

“Defense, and just being more consistent with my shot,” Young said. “Those are two of the big things I’ve been working on a lot this summer.” 

That’s a good thing too, because the battle for playing time is much greater in training camp this season.

“It’s going to make us better,” Young said. “We’re gonna fight during practice to get better. I’m glad we have a lot of people here.” 

And he’s even happier to be entering the competition with a clean bill of health.

 

“Being healthy is great,” Young said. “That’s what I’m focused on this whole season; trying to stay healthy and just be positive.”

Young added with a grin, “I’m amped that it’s going to be a great season.”