At 6'7 with a 6'11 wingspan, James 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. Young's physical tools complement his offensive skill set, which revolves heavily around his jump shooting ability at this stage in his career. Attempting more spot up jumpers than any player in the country according to Synergy Sports Technology, the Michigan native's smooth, quick release and size helped him get his shot off over defenders at a prolific level playing in John Calipari's dribble drive offense.
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. Almost three-quarters of Young's 199 catch and shoot jump shots this season were defended. Connecting on 45% of his open attempts but just 32% when guarded, Young is an efficient threat given time and space that would certainly benefit from playing in an up tempo offense around established, unselfish scorers who can create that space for him early in his NBA career. Still, he will have to learn the nuances of shot-selection and decision making as he matures, and not fall into the trap or settling for the first look that becomes available like he often did as a freshman.
Seldom called upon to create one-on-one or on the pick and roll last season, Young is not very dynamic off the bounce, as his ball-handling and ability to drive right remain a work in progress. He's an opportunistic finisher in transition and can make some tough pull-up jump shots, but struggled to convert inside the arc efficiently, settling for difficult floaters and forcing contested, high-degree of difficulty shots in close. As a consequence, Young ranks 65th of the 74 NCAA prospects in our Top-100 in two-point percentage. Lacking elite blow-by quickness to beat the defense to the rim and the advanced ball-handling repertoire to create separation for his pull-up jump shot consistently, Young has plenty of room to grow on the offensive end at the next level.
The same can be said for Young on the defensive end, where his lack of focus and fundamentals are limiting factors at this stage. He's a solid rebounder for his position, and plays with some energy at times, but is still figuring things out on this end of the floor. Not always getting in a stance and allowing smaller, less athletic players to get the best of him, Young's poor fundamentals, average awareness, and lack of lateral speed doesn't give him outstanding upside on this end of the floor as a pro, but he has the capacity to be more effective than he showed last year. With all of that being said, it is important to remember that Young won't turn 19 until August. One of the youngest prospects likely to hear their name called on draft day, he showed the ability to score in bunches last season and could be intriguing to teams picking in the later part of the lottery who feel he has better upside than what he showed at times this year and that they have the right pieces in place to put him in position to round out his rough edges as he continues to mature.
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