Young comes to Celtics ready to learn

Young comes to Celtics ready to learn
June 30, 2014, 4:00 pm
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WALTHAM, Mass. — One of the advantages of being one of the youngest players in the NBA, is there's plenty to learn all the time.

So shortly after 18-year-old James Young was drafted by Boston last week, he put himself through a quick crash course in Celtics 101.

"They have the most NBA championships; the Celtics and the Lakers are great rivals and it's just a great organization," Young said. "That's basically it."

It's a good start but his understanding of what it means to be a Celtic - much like his game - will only grow in time.

That's why as important as it was for Boston to draft Marcus Smart at No. 6, landing Young at No. 17 might be even more impressive.

The Celtics were always on the short list of teams that might select Smart.

But leading up to the draft, Young was considered by most a lottery (top-14) pick. He was involved in a minor car accident which led to him canceling a few workouts, including one for the Celtics.

Both Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations and head coach Brad Stevens acknowledged that they had Young rated much higher and did not anticipate he would be available at No. 17.

That might explain him falling to the Celtics with the No. 17 pick.

But you won't hear him or his camp complaining.

"Both Marcus and James have the potential to be really good players in this league," Ainge told "I like their versatility and their work ethic. I really believe both guys are going to do what they need to do, put in the work they need in order to keep getting better."

Part of the process for players to truly continue growing is to be in a situation where that's attainable.

Because of the Celtics being such a young team, it will allow a player with Young's youth opportunities to play through the inevitable mistakes that all rookies have to contend with in some capacity.

"It's imperative that he gets an opportunity like this where the organization from top-down, does things a certain way for an 18-year-old who came from a college that did things a certain way," Rich Kleiman, vice-president of Roc Nation Sports, told after Smart and Young's introductory press conference on Monday. "That that transition continues to remain smooth, that he continues to learn how to move, how to travel in a first class operation."

Of course Young wants to play as soon as possible, but there's no rush on the part of anyone to get him on the floor immediately.

"Playing right away is not the most important thing," Kleiman said. "Getting better is the most important right away. It's great that he's in an organization that he can get better right away."