2014 NBA Phoenix Suns Draft Prospect Profile: James Young Does It All

Tom Pennington

James Young is an 18 year old prospect who already has a solid overall game and a lot of potential to improve. Here's the breakdown.

James Young

School: Kentucky

Position: Small Forward

Mock Draft Projections: Draft Express - 12, NBA Draft Insider - 12, ESPN - 14 (Suns), NBADraft.net - 14 (Suns)

Stats

Measurables

  • Height: 6' 5" without shoes, 6' 7" with shoes
  • Weight: 213 pounds
  • Age: 18
  • Wingspan: 7' 0"
  • Standing Reach: 8' 8"

Combine Numbers

  • Maximum Vertical Leap: 35.5"
  • Lane Agility: N/A (didn't test)*
  • 3/4 Court Sprint: N/A (didn't test)*
  • Shuttle Drill: N/A (didn't test)*

*Young slightly strained his groin during the max vertical test which prevented him from completing the other tests at the combine

Expert Analysis

Matt Kamalsky, DraftExpress

Strengths:

"Young has prototypical size for a NBA wing, with a 215-pound frame that should continue to improve over time. He does not possess tremendous speed or burst off the dribble, but is an exceptionally fluid athlete who can rise up and play above the rim with a head of steam when given a lane."

Weaknesses:

"As much as Young's ability to get shots off over the defense made him a dangerous scoring threat, it also limited his efficiency. Making 34.9% of his shots from beyond the arc on the year, the lefty struggled from the perimeter for long stretches, due in large part to the number of contested jump shots he attempted."

Sam Gallenberger, NBADraft.net

Strengths:

"With his length and more experience he could potentially become a fantastic defensive player. He’s a lefty and is young for his class so he could potentially grow some more. Crafty offensive player who finds ways to put points on the board. Plays with good energy. Excellent body control and finishes well through contact. One of the better rebounders at his position. Appears to have a good head on his shoulders and is a functional passer."

Weaknesses:

"At this point doesn’t have a go-to skill that sticks out. He’s merely good in most areas as opposed to great. His jumper is still streaky and he has a tendency to take some bad shots early in possessions. Not a special leaper and lacks a degree of quickness which means he may be more of a small forward than a shooting guard. Despite his frame he could still add a good deal of strength."

My Take

Young is very...young.  In fact, he is one of the youngest players in this year's NBA Draft at only 18 years old.  He has tremendous potential as a scorer, with range out to the NBA three and a terrific mid-range game.  He has great length at the wing, with a 7'0" wingspan, and already has a strong, NBA-ready body that could still add more size as he fills out even more.  Although he isn't the most explosive players, he has sneaky athleticism and is very agile with great balance and body control, and possesses the strength to finish through contact.  In fact, his highlight posterizer during the NCAA championship game was one of the most vicious college dunks of the entire season.  You can watch that beauty here.

As has already been stated above, one of the biggest knocks on Young is his penchant for taking contested jump-shots.  Although he has a beautiful stroke, he needs to take better shots.  The good news is that this is a very fixable issue, and with his natural shooting ability, he could become a great shooter at the next level as long as he becomes more selective.  He is also a good rebounder and has a high motor, and runs the floor well in an up-tempo system.

Defensively, Young has great length with his 7' 0" wingspan to bother the opposition and get his hands on the ball, and he is is agile enough to stay in front of his man on the perimeter.  He is also strong enough to defend in or near the post without issue. Young does need to work on his defensive fundamentals though, but with his size and length, I think he could become at least a good defender as long as he commits to learning the system.

In all, James is very intriguing prospect with a lot of great traits and intangibles who is far from a finished product.  He does a lot of things very well but really doesn't excel at anything...yet.  That's not necessarily a bad thing though, as he has great potential to improve in a lot of areas.  One area that I do think he will improve in is his shooting percentage.  His shot is already very fluid, he just needs to be coached on taking higher percentage shots and knowing when to pull the trigger.

Young is certainly in the Suns' range with their 14th pick, and could be another investment in the future like Archie Goodwin last season.  Still, the Suns suddenly find themselves in a position to win now, and you have to wonder if they are looking for a player who is a little further along in their development.  Either way, James Young could prove to be a very solid addition to the right team with the potential to be a productive starting wing in a couple of years.

Young

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