With news that the Pelicans are looking to trade into the NBA Draft coming this weekend to grab a small forward or center plenty of questions have been raised about the plan of the front office. Out of all of them though the most important seems to be which player, or players, have caught the eye of the front office enough to cause them to try to work themselves back into a pick. Instead of trying to guess exactly the player, Pelican Debrief has decided to just break down 18 small forwards and centers leading up to draft day (two reports will be posted daily) so that Pelicans fans will be ready no matter where or when the team trades into the draft and selects a player. The project starts today with James Young, a small forward out of Kentucky.
The first center that the scouting reports will look at is Florida’s Patric Young, a player the Pelicans actually met with at the NBA Draft Combine. Young has been physically ready for the NBA for a few years now but there are plenty of questions about why his body has never translated to bigger numbers in college. Young seems likely to either find a DeJuan Blair style role as a backup big man or be in Europe in a few years, without much in between or a very high ceiling.
Weight: 247 lbs
Wingspan: 7′ 1.75”
Standing Reach: 8’7.5”
Max Vertical: 37.5
Stats: 39 games, 26.3 mpg, 11.0 ppg, 54.1 FG%, 59.6 FT%, 6.2 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.6 spg, 1.1 bpg
Draft Projections: Second Round to undrafted
Young’s biggest strength is clearly his body. Since he arrived at Florida Young was a man among boys, constantly making his SEC counterparts look much tinier than they actually were. Young doesn’t have the ideal height for a center but his wingspan of 7′ 1.75” more than makes up for it as does his uncanny quickness, mobility and explosiveness for a big man.
Offensively, Young uses those physical and athletic gifts and his intelligence to not do anything he is incapable of. Young is the definition of a garbage man, finding his points off cuts, offensive rebounds and rolls out of the pick-and-roll while not forcing looks that he can not possibly finish. Young understands his limitations very well and is not going to be the type of player that plays outside of them, an encouraging sign for teams looking to add him.
Where Young really shines though is on defense. The SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2014, Young has an uncanny understanding of opposing offenses that combined with his motor and athletic gifts allows him to shut down anything an opposing offense wants to do. Using his strength and length Young is a very good post defender and his mobility and length allow him to stay in front of ball-handlers in pick-and-roll situations when asked to and hard hedge and trap in those same situations when needed. Young will step in on day one and be able to contribute to a team off the bench as a defender.
For all of his physical gifts Young never really dominated enough in college for reasons that don’t seem clear. Motor was never an issue for Young who always played hard but despite showing flashes of domination here and there, Young was just a guy for most of his college career.
Part of Young’s problem is that he struggles on the defensive glass, perhaps due to his small hands and perhaps due to reasons that no one knows. As a senior, when he was older and stronger than anyone he competed against Young averaged just 3.6 defensive rebounds a game. What made everything weirder was that Young was very good on the offensive glass (2.6 orpg). Young was never dominant on the defensive glass at any point during his career, though an NBA team will hope they can find the way to unlock his gifts and allow him to be a force on that end.
Finally while Young understands his offensive limitations and doesn’t play outside of them, they still exist and it probably will keep him from ever being able to become a starter. In an NBA that relies on spacing and everyone on the floor being a threat Young sticks out like Joel Anthony and Kendrick Perkins as players that essentially can’t do anything but score from right in front of the rim on situations teammates create. That is really hard to get around for starters minutes every night, even for the best teams.
Projected Role: Young looks the part of a long time third or fourth big who floats around during his career. He will help any team’s defense when he plays but will hurt offensively and on the glass too much to ever play big minutes.
Information for this post was found at DraftExpress.com. Young’s DX scouting report can be found here.
Tags: New Orleans Pelicans