Trailing the Bulls by three points with less than ten seconds to go, Young got the ball and was fouled on a three-pointer. After sinking all three free throws to tie the game and eventually force overtime, Young managed to put together another impressive night. Even though the Bulls ended up winning in double overtime, Young’s shot in the second overtime period to tie the game was another example of inspiring effort. Young has certainly come on strong recently in terms of his offensive play, just as his mentor and teammate Kobe Bryant has done over his historic career, but will never be able to live up to a fraction of Kobe’s legacy.
Despite all of his All-NBA defensive honors, many fans – even some Lakers fans – will admit that Kobe lacks a bit on defense. Naturally, his 35-year-old legs have slowed down over the years, but Young’s defensive effort is comparatively laughable.
Over his career, Kobe has averaged 5.3 rebounds, half a block and 1.5 steals per game. Young, on the other hand, has only managed to record 2.0 rebounds, 0.2 blocks and 0.6 steals per game in his eight-year career. Although Young added 31 points on Monday, he does not try hard enough on the defensive end to even have a chance to live up to what Kobe has done.
Less there be any confusion, I am not trying to claim that Young is as good a player, nor am I even trying to say he is as good a scorer as Kobe. The point here is that, if Young wants to become a real NBA star, he needs to pick up the effort on the other side of the court. His one move to create space, in which he does a little bit of fancy dribbling before crossing over and pulling up, will not be able to sustain his offensive output over the long run. When your scoring ability fades, all you have to lean on is your defensive effort and Young’s performance will renew his journeyman status if he keeps it up.