After just one year at Kentucky, guard/forward James Young is joining his teammate Julius Randle in entering the 2014 NBA Draft. Randle is projected to be one of the top lottery picks in the draft and many believe he has the physical tools to succeed right away. Much less is being made about Young, though.
Young is projected by many to be a fringe-lottery pick in this draft, meaning he’s not getting a great deal of buzz. Also taking away from some of the hype is the fact that he’s part of a draft class that is full of wings that are projected to come off of the board around the same time in the draft.
However, much more of a deal should be made about Young and his potential at the pro level. In fact, there’s a strong possibility that Young could wind up being the best wing player outside of Andrew Wiggins in this draft.
His stats with the Wildcats in his freshman season weren’t overwhelming by any stretch. Playing 32.4 minutes per game, Young put up 14.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 0.8 steals per game. He also shot only 40.7 percent from the field and just 34.9 percent from three. However, he showed much more than what he put into the box score.
Part of Young’s lack of success in his lone college season was a result of Kentucky spending much of the season trying to figure things out within their team. His role seemingly fluctuated. However, what he did show was that he has a pro-level shooting stroke that could make him a dangerous perimeter threat and that he has elite athleticism that you have to figure will only get more dangerous as he matures and gets stronger.
Young, like every young prospect, has his shortcomings as a player. You’d like to see more from him defensively and he’s going to need to bulk up his frame to not get out-muscled in the NBA. However, when you look at the tools that he possesses, it’s kind of remarkable that people aren’t murmuring about him more often. He could very well make teams regret not taking him earlier in the lottery if he falls to where he’s projected to be selected.