The Boston Celtics selected a strong potential compliment to Marcus Smart in James Young with the 17th overall pick.
The thing you need to understand about Young is that he is just that: really young. He’s only 18 years old, and we really don’t quite know what he is yet. He might fill out and become a well-rounded offensive force that can both shoot the lights out and also get into the lane. He has good vertical athleticism once he gets to the rim, he just doesn’t at all have the handle to do it right now.
Having said that there is a quite a bit of potential variance in Young’s development, my guess is that he ends up settling in as a really good outside shooter in the Martell Webster mold. Even though Young only shot 35% from three this past season, his stroke from outside is absolutely beautiful and sometimes you have to take collegiate shooting percentages only at face value. Remember, Young was forced into taking some pretty awful three pointers from time-to-time this season in order to space the floor for Kentucky (some of which were his decision of course too), as he was their only real option as far as doing so. It’s much of the same situation that faced Bradley Beal at Florida whenever he was forced to share a backcourt with Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton and only shot 33% from three.
One thing you should not necessarily expect Young to turn into though is a “3 and D” player. Normally, the second part of that equation is involved, and Young showed no real interest in defending this season. Again, he’s only 18 and a lot of 18 year olds don’t defend, but he didn’t particularly show strong instincts or any sort of acumen for it. Which is a shame, because he has a near seven-foot wingspan while measuring out a little bit shorter than 6’7.
Overall, I really like this selection for the Celtics though because I like his fit next to fellow draftee Smart. He will provide an excellent kick out option for Smart on his drives to the rim. Plus, Smart can hopefully help to minimize the damage Young does defensively early in his career through his hard work and leadership on that end.
My guess is that Young ends up turning into a solid role player for the Celtics going into the future, which is basically all you’re asking for from the 17th overall pick.