In the continuing series leading up to draft day, today we will be taking a look at James Young.
The Bulls have been hurting at the shooting guard position for awhile now. Keith Bogans, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver, Richard Hamilton, Marco Belinelli, and even Jimmy Butler are just some of the options they have used. None of those options has really helped (Butler is more of a small forward than shooting guard) the Bulls get the scoring it desperately needs to realistically compete for a title. With as great of a defense they have, if they have a scoring punch, they could be special.
The answer could come with James Young.
Young is a 6’7″, 215 pound guard/forward from Kentucky. He has played small forward, but in the NBA he projects to be a shooting guard. He is a terrific, athletic player. He has a 7’0″ wingspan. He doesn’t have the blow-by-you speed, but works hard at shooting the ball and scoring, and he can put up points in a variety of ways.
In Kentucky last year, Young averaged 17.7 points per-40 minutes on a team of superstars. He also averaged about five rebounds a game per-40 minutes, which is very good for a shooting guard. He has a quick release on his shot, and with time he could become a very good shooter.
Being one of the young guns of the draft class (he doesn’t turn 19 until August), Young could take a year or two to start to fully develop into a star. He has a solid foundation working with John Calipari, and has the make-up to get the job done.
With his height, wingspan and a good 10-15 pounds added to his frame, Young could develop into a very good defender as well. I’m sure that is music to Tom Thibodeau’s ears.
Young struggles at times with his shot selection. When guarded tightly, he has a tendency to sometimes take bad shots. Also, he depends on his outside shooting a bit too much. If his shot doesn’t go in on a given night, he could be shut down.
Young is a fluid player and the game seems to come easy for him. He may not blow past you, but once he gets to the rim he is a good finisher.
It will be interesting to see where Young gets drafted. He’s been projected anywhere from 8 to 16, but I feel he will go in the 15-20 range. He has a ton of talent, but he hasn’t put it all together yet, and the teams in the top ten may not want to wait for him to mature. Perhaps with the coaching from the Bulls and the examples set by veterans like Joakim Noah Taj Gibson and Butler, Young could develop faster and be a longterm solution at shooting guard for the team.