Draft Profiles: James Young, 6’7, SG/SF, Kentucky, 215 lbs., Freshman

Draft Profiles: James Young, 6’7, SG/SF, Kentucky, 215 lbs., Freshman

Athletic Ability

Athletically, Young is an above average athlete regardless of whether he plays shooting guard or small forward. While he will not blow people away with his athleticism, he has solid quickness, some surprising hops, and is an aggressive player.


Young’s size is definitely intriguing. At 6’7, 215 pounds, and a 7 foot wingspan, he would make a monster sized shooting guard or a good sized small forward. Young has great tools to succeed at the next level.  Combine this with the fact that he will not turn 19 until August (one of the youngest players you’ll find in the draft with the one and done rule), and he has lots of growth potential as well.

Basketball IQ

Young possesses a solid understanding of the game.  While a solid, but not spectacular, athlete, there are times where Young uses his understanding to get to the spots he wants for shots.  That said, he still has a lot to learn about the game. 

Defensively, he has many tools to develop into a good defender, but repeatedly was blown by opponents despite playing hard.  Offensively, while having a nice compact shooting motion and game, he would often show poor shot selection.


Skill-wise, Young has a chance to be very solid at the next level.  He shows promise as a shooter taking nearly six threes a game and knocking them down at a 35% clip.  When an opponent closes out on him, he will typically drive to the hole if going left or pull up for a jumper when going right.  Defensively, when low to the ground and not playing mechanical, he shows solid defensive potential.

That said, there are several concerns with Young as well.  First and foremost, while playing hard and showing good defensive potential, his defense was just flat out bad.  Consistently, Young is blown by smaller ball-handlers.  Going around screens, he showed better progress but he’ll have a learning curve there too. 

Offensively, while flashing great potential, what particular skill does he stand out on?  He has a nice jumper with good form, but he only shot 35% from three and 70% from free-throw line.  Most good shooters shoot better than 70% from free throw line.  While being guarded, he does have a bit of a pull-up game, right now he is easy to figure out that if he uses his right-hand it will be a 2 dribble pull-up or a drive to the rack with his left-hand.

The question for me with Young is how much will he improve?  At age 18, he’s still got plenty of room to grow. He shows lots of promise to become a great shooter, has good size and solid athleticism.  He shows a good understanding of the game and plays hard.  The tools are there, but is he going to be a top 10 player in this draft or a taller version of C.J. Miles?


Overall, I feel Young has a chance to be a player that can go from late lottery to late teens.  Young is an enticing talent and should find a career at the NBA level just by being average.  Is he one of those players who’s shot is better than he showed at Kentucky like Bradly Beal?   Will he be a better defender once paired in a more structured defensive system?

To me out of the prospects of Rodney Hood, Gary Harris, and Nik Staukas, Young has a chance to be the best player.  However, due to his inconsistency and lack of a standout skill, I would only take Young if I had plenty of patience to deal with a potentially bumpy ride.  There is no knock on his character, but I just feel he will be one of those players that might take 3 years to fully see what you might have and if the best case is a solid player, then you have a solid player.

How does he fit with the Bulls?

The Bulls need players that can provide one elite skill if not doing a total rebuild.  Rodney Hood is a good shooter that shows a good understanding of the game along with being a solid athlete.  Nik Stauskas is an elite shooter with ball-handling.  Gary Harris is a little on the shorter side for shooting guard, but has a great understanding of the game, elite anticipation, and is a good shooter with a little slashing capability. 

Young should be a solid overall player at the minimum, but in my opinion will take time to fully develop that consistency.  If he does develop consistency, watch out as he might be a very good talent.  However, I would rather take other players before him for the Bulls who are in a win now mode as I don’t think his athletic talent is enough to take that risk on right now. 

That said, if the other three players are off the board at pick 16 (very possible), I would rather have Young than most players including Tyler Ennis, T.J. Warren, P.J. Hairston, etc…


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  • You know, I'm certainly not enamored with this guy after watching 90% of the UK games. His shooting was not as good as advertised. His passing is sloppy and he makes many bone-head passes. His D was not as good as you would think given his skill set and Calipari's team defensive focus. He did seem to make big plays, including getting key rebounds.

    Overall, a frustrating player because he was not nearly as good as we thought he would be. That being said, he probably has more upside than some of the guys going ahead of him. Harris and Stauskas probably deserve to go ahead of him. Not sure about McDermott. At 16 or 19, I think it's a decent value. Who else is much better at that point.

    This just illustrates why trading both picks is better if it means returning Love or Melo while staying over the cap so that we can also bring over Mirotic at MLE.

    The one thing I don't love about Young is that he appears to coast and is too cool to constantly give max effort. He is far from emotional and this was one reason why UK underachieved. At times it seems like the players just went through the motions with little heart. Of course, that all changed in the tourney.

  • In reply to Granby:

    He is an intriguing prospect, but if we are wanting to win and win big, I would rather take other players!

  • Nice review. I like James Young as I've stated before. Any time you get a guy whose rated as an exceptional shooter and athlete with an exceptional handle(though his right needs work) at 6'7 with a 7' wingspan that's quite a package. Also, exceptional scorers'drivers often have big to huge.. hands(ha,ha). Seriously though Young's hands are huge. Plus he's rated as a good energy guy and to me appears to be a very good personality to add to the mix.

    Young shoots 70% from the line which is a concern, but so did Arron Afflalo his freshman year. A 47% 2pt% is one less then Afflalo's was. The problem is while he has so much promise as the third youngest player in this draft, Young needs to develop as Kevin said and with Thibs that's a recipe for disaster. It's tough that other teams(S.A comes to mind) even in so called contention mode still manage to integrate young players. Thibs, not so much.Though granted the Spurs get guys(Danny Green, Patty Mills) after they've had time to develop their games elsewhere(over seas, Olympic teams).

    I agree with Kevin if I understand him correctly I'd rather trade up and get Gary Harris(or Nik Stauskas). The more I see Gary(though not a lot of young guys with that old school name feels strange saying it sometimes) the more I like him. I would definitely consolidate our two picks to get him.

    OK, that said at 16 as of right now I like Cleanthony Early, provided Rodney Hood is off the board. If Hood is there, I think with his shooting you have to take him. I think Early will be there though he has risen a long way. So I'm saying even if Young is available at 16 I'm still going with Early.

    At 19 if Young is there, which is possible according to the latest mocks I'm equally rating James Young and Adreian Payne. Of course choice hinges partly on whether you think you can get Mirotic over here for next season. Regardless, I don't think you can go wrong with either guy at that spot. Payne may be gone, but at his age and late production he may be there.

    My third choice who should be there if Young and Payne are gone is C.J. Wilcox who has now climbed(back) to 23 on NBADraft.net. I can't remember if Kevin has done a review on C.J. Wilcox I don't think so. If he has time maybe, but I know there's not much time left.
    C.J. Wilcox, like Payne, is regarded as a high character guy. I watched an amateur looking Youtube post his camp/friends put together kind of a personal day in the life portrait of him, and while meant to be complimentary obviously I was highly impressed. C.J. shoots 40% from three on a high, high volume year after year. He's a good athlete with good wingspan and solid size. Takes advantage of weak side and transition openings for straight line drives. Shot 52% 2pt % this year while progressing every year as a player. Also, he had a 37" Max vert and good court speed at the combine with good hand size. C.J. is a guy who could contribute right away.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I like your rankings although I would rather look at PJ Hairston over CJ Wilcox because Wilcox is about to turn 24 and has a low ceiling as nothing more than a 3pt shooter without the ability to get his own shot. If we can keep Jimmer I think he is better overall than CJ is or will be but that is just me.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Nurkic the 6-11 center would be a nice choice at 19 should Payne be gone too. Time to move on from the Nazr era!

  • In reply to Chad:

    Wasn't Taj about 24 when the Bulls drafted him? Obviously age is a factor but the fact that Wilcox improved every year says something to me. His volume three shooting if he is one dimensional then it's one hell of a dimension with 7 threes attempted per game while maintaining nearly 40% shooting.Somebody is going to be getting an NBA ready three point bomber in Wilcox IMO. I definitely wouldn't mind it being the Bulls at 19 honestly.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Thibs played Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler, and Omer Asik plenty in their second years.

    The guys he hasn't integrated (Teague, Johnson, to some extent Snell) seem more based on their ability than an unwillingness on Thibs' part.

    It seems like Thibs might just be a good judge of talent.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    "It seems like Thibs must be a GOOD judge of talent." Really Doug, what did I do to deserve this? Why did that quip remind of a teasing, contrary sibling being disagreeable just for the sake of being disagreeable/goading someone. You been hanging out with Don Smellus?

    Everybody has bemoaned Thibs rookie wall including yourself. And the Jimmer shunning? Come on dude get real. You conveniently throw in "second year" players. OK Doug you're right. Thibs hasn't frustrated everybody shutting out rookies. He just "knew" that Gar/Pax had screwed the pooch drafting these guys or that they "weren't ready" before he ever gave them a chance. Whatever man.

    If he's such an astute judge of talent then why did he over play Deng which nearly everybody agrees on when his lack of three point shooting is a major disadvantage as evidenced by the lack of impact when he left? You yourself have criticized this have you not? Playing Butler an infinite number of minutes when this team was screaming for more offense and developing offensive chemistry when all he did this year was defend and his shooting numbers including threes was horrid? Have you not criticized this gross over valuing paranoia he has about his rotations? Yep, great judge of talent that Thibs. Seriously that quippy comment you made was just... man.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I just don't see this guy playing much under Thibs. I agree that he plays talent sometimes, but sometimes only when hand forced. I think Young is a smarter basketball player than a Teague, but not consistent enough for Thibs!

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I can't do all people, but will do a writeup (shorter for each player) on late first round and early 2nd round prospects. C.J. will be involved on that! Just not as high on Young. Not disappointed if we drafted him as I think he will make it, but would rather draft others!

  • The problem with the Bulls drafting any 18 or 19 year old is they won't get the playing time needed to develop with Thibs as coach. Young needs to go to a team that will play him 25 minutes a game in order to improve his skills to be a productive NBA player. If the Bulls don't end up trading their picks they need to draft older players like Payne, Early and Wilcox or a Euro player that can stay overseas. Since the Bulls are keeping Thibs they need to Thibs-proof the draft. It'd be a shame to see a player like Young rot on the bench and not get a chance to really start his NBA career.

  • In reply to Zorb:

    I pretty much agree, but I would see why Thibs might let him rot until he is ready too!

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    In reply to Zorb:

    I know this kinda defeats the purpose but can't they send ( assuming they draft raw 18/19 yr olds) them to the d league where they will get plenty of game time?

  • I might have overreacted/spazzed a bit on Doug's comment. Sorry. It's just I really don't believe the Bulls are in contender mode, and would like to see rooks at least get some burn the first couple of months to see if they can play. Which I personally doubt Thibs will do. Not as much as he should. We can't intrude on Butler's 39 minutes now can we Loul, er I mean Jimmy.

    If they did draft "ready" guys like Payne and Wilcox I wouldn't have a problem with it as those two are high on my list, but I still think Thibs will sit them mostly. Which will suck. Just my opinion based on what I've seen. Early and James Young would probably be "second year guys" under Thibs meaning no burn. But as Doug points out if they actually have some game talent maybe they at least get some burn in season 2. Still sucks.

    Either way draft night will be exciting IMO with all the talent on the board. I would luv a Gary Harris(Stauskas) trade up/consolidation. If not Kevin Love. Ha, ha. Even if they draft guys offensively a lot of posters are high on like Early, Payne, Hood, Young, and Wilcox I'd be fairly stoked especially if they add Mirotic. We'll be interesting. Maybe somebody could come up with a Teague/Snell list of "Oh my god, they didn't just draft this guy did they??" players?? Kidding, sort of. Kevin? Early nominees Ennis and Payton(kidding, I know some like Payton).

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    In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Payton won't be around at 16, if he is, don't be surprised if the bulls draft him. They like him a lot.

  • Wow! Now this is a player that has a high upside--the sky is the limit for this kid. This year's talent level is at the highest since the draft of 1983-4. Because of this, the Bulls must somehow keep their draft picks while acquiring others to trade.
    Sure, you all have seen Young's inconsistencies--but the talent is there and he is still a growing kid. I know Thibs will not give him a lot of time--and the Bulls bench would be his home for at least 2 years--but, this is one kid they should patiently develop into the mold Thibs wants. I would draft this kid, Payne, and Stauskas at all cost and develop them. I would encourage the Bulls to immediate play Stauskas with Rose.
    Through trades this summer the Bulls could get Afflalo as SG and maybe Anthony at SF without losing 6 of their already signed players--and keep these kids even on the bench for their future potential is unbelievable.

  • In reply to penwit1:

    It is a deep draft, but not star heavy. This kid has talent, but puts up so-so effort and is not a consistent scorer!

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    In reply to penwit1:

    If all those things happen, check under your bed for a leprechaun and a pot of gold.

    If it did, oh would we have a lot of fun this fall .....

  • I think the Bulls FO learned their lesson with 18 yr old Teague. They won't draft this guy, or Hairston or LaVine because they know Thibs won't tolerate the boneheaded plays made by teenagers.
    My hope has been to get Elfrid Payton, first with the 19th pick, then 16 as he was rising up boards. Now Chad Ford is predicting that Sacramento will take him at #8! That hurts.

  • In reply to sfpaper:

    The only good thing if Payton makes it into the top 15, then someone that we want drops out of the top 15. Likely, Payne, Hood or Lavine.

    I'm guessing that LaVine is the least popular choice, given the almost total lack of discussion about him here.

  • Young sounds like a bit of a Tyrus Thomas type pick(scary thought), betting on a super high upside while taking on the risk of a total bust. I like his size a lot, especially if he is a legitimate shooting guard, so that Jimmy can move to small forward if/when we don't land Melo.

    In that category(high upside v bust) it sounds like his main competition would be LaVine. Who would you pick between those 2 guys? Which one is the harder worker/more driven player(better character in the mold of Kwahi Leonard)? LaVine I think.

    Sean Devaney at SI posted his latest Mock and it was the worst case scenario for the Bulls, everybody that we want was gone, Harris, Stauskis, McDermott, Saric, Hood, Payne and LaVine(not in that order), went 9-15 with the usual suspects making up the top 8. Unfortunately, if I were filling out a bracket, that's how I would fill it out also.

    That leaves the secondary guys that have been brought up here, Early, Young, Warren, Wilcox, Payton and the Eurostash guys(Capella or Nurkic, as Porzingas dropped out yesterday). So that would boil down to chosing between Early and Warren as small forwards and Wilcox and Young as shooting guards or Payton as a combo guard. Tough calls on both, I probably lean Warren and get me another first so I don't have to chose.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Maybe we should trade for Landry Fields, then at least we could get sideline shots of this chick(think Pam Anderson's baby sister), who is apparently his girlfriend. and I thought he hit the lottery when he got that contract from Toronto.


  • In reply to BigWay:

    He is a smarter player than Thomas: he is just way too inconsistent and not great at anything for me!

  • In reply to kevinstates:

    An Orangutan is smarter than Thomas. The Bulls FO always brags about how much background work they do on prospective draftees and then they go out and draft a guy who clearly had a borderline personality disorder. I remember watching Thomas at summer league games that first year and he was the only guy on the bench who consistently wasn't following the action on the court. He was in a world of his own. It went down hill from there as Tyrus fought with every coach he played for during his inglorious career.

    Well, at least we got Viktor Khryapa as part of the deal for Aldridge. Not only was he an awful NBA player but he announced that he was unhappy playing in the United States and went back to Russia. Good work Gar!

    Over the years some Bulls fans have determined that the Thomas/Aldridge trade was, in reality, a great move in that the Bulls never would have been in a position to get Rose if Aldridge were starring for the Bulls. (And I thought I had emotional problems.)

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    In reply to hgarbell:

    Shhhhhhh&$..........everyone I talk to says that same thing. I am almost to the point that I rather have LaMarcus then Derrick right now. Who knows, maybe we would have drafted Lillard too.......

  • Interesting comments from Chad Fords latest mock on Warren and to a lesser extent McDermott.

    From Charlotte's pick at 9

    "McDermott's workout in Charlotte last week against T.J. Warren wasn't a huge hit. While McDermott shot the ball well, he struggled in the competitive portions of the drill when he had to guard Warren one-on-one. After seeing Warren destroy everyone a few weeks ago in Thousand Oaks, I have a good idea of what the Hornets saw there. However, the Hornets desperately need spot-up shooting. That's McDermott's strength. They aren't going to be asking him to break people down one-on-one. Gary Harris, Nik Stauskas and Randle (if he's still on the board) will be in the mix, but I continue to think McDermott gets his name called here."

    and from the Suns pick at 18

    "With the Suns shoring up their wing, look for them to add another forward. Warren might be, next to Jabari Parker and Doug McDermott, the best scorer in this draft. He's not a great shooter, but he's got a unique ability to get to the rim. The Suns are loaded with 4s who can shoot the ball, which opens up some unique space for Warren".

    The question is can Warren's skills as a natural born scorer translate to the NBA, he has the size to be a legitimate scorer at small forward.

    Ford has Payne dropping to the Bulls, with LaVine and Warren going 17 & 18 and the Bulls taking Napier at 19 over Ennis and Hood going at 20 & 21.

    He has Payton, Jurkic and Young replacing Payne, LaVine and Hood in the top 15.

    For the Bulls not a bad way for the draft to break, although I'd rather grab Hood than Napier or Ennis. The choice between Payne, LaVine, Warren and Hood at 16 is interesting.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    there are some unique choices - are any of them going to be better than average?

  • LaVine has vaulted up to No. 8 on NBADraft.net. When you have someone with freakish hops and speed and rated as not exceptional but outstanding shooter he's going to find his way into the mid to upper lottery. He will not be available unless the Bulls trade up to get Harris/Stauskas and decide to take LaVine instead at 11. Though I doubt he'll last that long even.

    From watching him play and reading the scouts he just does not go to the basket and his defense is poor along with being rail thin. He didn't score much, but then again he only played the one season. Personality wise I just find him very blah, but then again you could say the same about Klay Thompson and look at how he ended up. If the Bulls drafted him/got their hands on him I'd be worried, but also excited as hell at the same time. His potential is through the roof. Doubt it happens though so probably a moot point.

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