Tuesday, May 29, 2007
USC's Young Rising up Draft Boards
Nick Young HAD been something of an under appreciated talent at USC. Yeah he was All-Pac 10 twice, led his team to the Sweet 16 this year and showed enough talent to be on the NBA radar screen the last 2 years. But he was tucked away on the West Coast on an underrated team and his game could be best described as smooth, not flashy or fiery enough to make the national headlines or Sports Center highlights. So why has he gone from "bubble first rounder" to lottery-projected in many mock drafts the last month? The simple answer is that pure talent always seems to rise this time of the year (and Young certainly is a "pure talent"), but taking a deeper look at Young's NBA ready game provides the more comprehensive answer.
The 6'6'' 205 lb Young has very good size for an NBA 2 guard and has enough size to swing to 3 for a smaller lineup: long arms, wide hips, big hands. He is not the most explosive athlete but he is a very good one (think Josh Howard type athleticism); blessed with great body control, Young is one of those players who looks smoother than everyone else on the floor. Offensively he plays as a pure wing and he stays on the wing, he doesn't over dribble or bog down the offense. He likes the mid range jumper and can get the shot off with ease because of a smooth handle, nice elevation and a wide frame which creates separation (he has a nice turnaround jump shot from the right side of the floor that is pure butter). Defensive ability is good; he is not shutdown but he will be able to neutralize his man in the NBA with his size, strong hand usage and good lateral agility. Don't confuse him with a point guard or even a combo guard; he's not a great distributor and though he can handle the ball, he doesn't operate much at the top of circle. Rebounding is average at best and will probably never be a strength of his. Intangibles are very good; he is a confident, unselfish player who plays within the team system. Intensity and focus are questionable as he has been inconsistent during his career (Aaron Afflalo he is not). Young projects as a legitimate starter and 15 plus point scorer in the NBA for many years.
Nick Young should be able to fit in on just about any team in the league. He is a pure wingman who can get his shots in the flow of the offense, play solid defense and bring solid character. I would personally rate Young as a top 10 or maybe Top 7 player in the draft, ahead of some more prominent names like Julian Wright, Joakim Noah and Jeff Green. He may need to toughen up a little bit and he certainly cannot be a teams #1 option, but I really think Nick Young could be a championship type player, a 3rd or 4th guy on a great team. Charlotte would be wise to consider the late-rising Young at 8, as they could use a throwback wing who plays the right way (unlike a certain mustached showboat we all know too well).