Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How Kentucky's James Young would fit with 76ers

Kentucky's James Young is poised to make a splash in the NBA if he continues to be dominant as a perimeter player.

How Kentucky's James Young would fit with 76ers

Kentucky´s James Young drives on Texas-Arlington´s Reger Dowell. (James Crisp/AP)
Kentucky's James Young drives on Texas-Arlington's Reger Dowell. (James Crisp/AP)

Kentucky’s James Young is poised to make a splash in the NBA if he continues to be dominant as a perimeter player.

We’ve examined Michigan State's Gary Harris and Nik Stauskas of Michigan, but Young is an example of another perimeter player that could land in the lottery and potentially break out in a big way at the next level. 

Oh yeah, and he has a habit of doing this every now and again:


Kentucky | Freshman | SG | 6'7" | 215 lbs.

2013-14: 32.4 MPG, 14.3 PPG, 40.7 FG%, 34.9 3FG%, 4.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.8 SPG

Best Case Scenario: Aaron Afflalo

Worst-Case Scenario: Nick Young


  • Can use his size and length to get to the rim from the perimeter, has shown that he can slash to the rim
  • Great scorer from the perimeter, very quick release on his jumper, does well shooting the ball with his feet set
  • Works well in transition slashing to the basket or with his feet set, thrives in an up-tempo type of play-style
  • Has the size and frame of an NBA wing player, just 18 years old so plenty of upside for growth, can keep building muscle and develop into a solid player
  • Not the quickest or most explosive player, but can finish around and above the rim, usually with emphatic tomahawk dunks
  • Can beat defenders in a variety of ways, has NBA range and can use dribble to get to the rim while being tightly guarded, comes off screens and spots up well
  • Finishes well around the rim and through contact, has fantastic body control and draws fouls well
  • Could develop well enough to improve his shooting efficiency and rebound well for his position, not a horrible passer, has a scorer’s mentality and skillset


  • Not a great defender by any means, though he does have the size and length to potentially be effective defending the perimeter and staying in front of his opposition
  • Plays on his heels on the defensive end, always backing up instead of sliding his feet and shuffling either left or right
  • Doesn’t have the best shot selection, which shows slightly in his numbers, has a habit of firing early in the shot clock or when heavily guarded, but able to make some of those shots due to his quick release
  • Needs to work on his dribble-move package, has a very loose dribble and is likely to get plucked frequently at the elite level
  • Can struggle off the dribble and when creating for himself, especially in isolation
  • Doesn’t really have a “go-to" move in his arsenal, just good in some areas, not necessarily great
  • Not the most explosive or athletic player in the class or even at his position, not necessarily a great leaper, lacks great quickness
  • His lack of elite ability to drive to the rim doesn’t mean that he’ll be able to do it effectively at the next level
  • Doesn’t make the best decisions with the ball in his hands, poor shot selection, lack of experience, gambles on defense a bit, greatly needs to work on his footwork; can improve with age, experience.

Final Analysis: Young has the potential to be a great scorer at the NBA level in a few years, and with time to develop some tools (shooting, slashing from the perimeter, taking contact and finishing above the rim) there’s the hope that he can develop his current talents and be a premiere scorer in the NBA. However, with a suspect dribble, no right hand, poor defensive mechanics and a lack of offensive moves in his arsenal, there’s a lot of development that still needs to happen for him to truly be elite.

If he lands with the right roster and coaching staff, his development might not take that long.

How he’d fit with the Sixers: Young would give the Sixers a dimension of perimeter scoring and slashing that they don’t have outside of Michael Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young, who might not be a Sixer after Thursday's draft. His ability to get his feet set quickly and thrive in an up-tempo offense would make him a great fit for Brett Brown’s speedy transition game.

But will Brown be able to develop another Kentucky one-and-done player or will the Sixers not even budge on him with the No. 10 pick in the draft?

Either way, Young will find a way to make an immediate impact on pretty much any team that decides to draft him. He has all the talents - some may still need to be developed - to be a sharpshooter in a few years in the NBA.

Twitter: @TylerRickyTynes | Email: tynest@phillynews.com

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About this blog
Bob Cooney has been at the Daily News for more than 20 years, working in the sports department for the past 15. This is his third season on the Sixers beat. He has covered just about everything, but mostly college basketball, where he was the La Salle beat writer for six seasons. E-mail Bob at cooneyb@phillynews.com and follow him on Twitter.

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