Celtics Green 10/25: James Young Earns Roster Spot Through Motivation


Boston Celtics forward James Young beat out R.J. Hunter for the final roster spot and did it through motivation.

Nothing in life is guaranteed and James Young has found that out the hard way.  On Monday, the small forward won the Celtics final roster spot by barely beating out R.J. Hunter.  His hard work and motivation has paid off…for now.

Young, who was taken in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft, spent most of his first two seasons between the end of the Celtics bench and D-League affiliate Maine Red Claws.  His inability to crack Boston’s regular rotation was based on two factors:  the team’s depth and Young’s inconsistency.

More from Boston Celtics

Those two factors led to his uncertainly about making the team entering the 2016-17 season.  Instead of letting the decision be made for him, he decided to use it as motivation to go out and win a roster spot.

"“Right after Summer League, I sat down and talked with my dad and my brother and they just kept it real with me,” Young recalled via Celtics.com. “After that, I was in the gym every day working out with my brother and some assistant coaches, and that’s when I knew I was hungry.”"

In seven preseason games, Young displayed some of that hunger.  He averaged 5.6 points, 3.6 rounds in 17.1 minutes, but showed great hustle and improvement in his shooting touch.  It was enough to show head coach Brad Stevens that the 21-year-old product of Kentucky has a lot more to offer.

"“I think he’s trending in a good direction,” Stevens said. “The biggest thing at that age is figuring out what you do best and doing it every day. I’ve seen a lot more consistency and a really, really good approach.”"

James Young must stay motivated to become more than just a 15th player sitting at the edge of the bench of a playoff contending team.  He must continue to work hard and improve on his all-around game, because the sky is the limit for a player his age.

"“I’ve got to keep coming in here and getting better,” said Young. “I’ve got a lot more growing to do both defensively and offensively, and I’m just looking forward to [reaching] my potential.”"

Notes & quotes

The Auerbach Center:  According to ESPN, the Celtics held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday at the site of their new practice facility dedicated to the late Red Auerbach.

The 70,000-square-foot facility named The Auerbach Center will showcase two full-length practice courts and will display a 2017 championship banner that will hang alongside the team’s other 17 title banners.  Talk about motivation!

R.J. Hunter:  The Celtics cut ties with the former first-round draft pick.  Boston was unable to find a trade for R.J. Hunter which made the decision to waive him so tough.  Celtics head coach Brad Stevens believes he will catch on with another team and have a great career.

Avery Bradley on ball-handling skills via CSNNE.com:

"“I worked on my ball-handling a lot.  Instead of doing all the Kyrie (Irving) stuff that trainers have people do, I tried to focus on just one or two moves, just perfecting a few moves that I can put into my game.”"

Brad Stevens on Al Horford via The Vertical:

"“Before we signed him, we felt like he was the perfect fit for how we wanted to play and everything has been validated. The ability to quickly move the ball and make the right decision — the ball never sticks with him. We told him when he first got here that we just wanted him to be the best version of himself. He knows what he is good at and he is a great model for our younger players.”"

Next: Boston Celtics: Al Horford Signing Earns More Praise

The Boston Celtics begin their regular season schedule against the Brooklyn Nets at TD Bank Garden next Wednesday night.