By now many of us Pacer fans are well aware of Joe Young. The swagger man from Oregon was the second round choice for the Indiana Pacers in the 2015 NBA Draft. He was picked as a supplement for what we thought would be a fairly deep guard depth chart for the upcoming season. Before we continue I will admit that I have been a fan of Joey Buckets for quite some time and see a lot of potential in the guy.
Let's be frank. Young is raw. He is an absolute scoring machine when he wants to be and is more or less comfortable with the ball in his hands. Standing at 6'2 and 180 pounds soaking wet, he is not the most dominating physical presence you will see on the court. Where Young makes up his game is in the department of speed. Joe Young can blow by just about anybody in a foot race and stop on a dime. His lower body control is quite impressive for a first year player. Early on in his days as a Pacer, it seemed like every guard they had possessed a very similar skillset. Joe Young would prove that he could play with many of the current and returning Indiana players by leading the NBA Summer League in scoring at over twenty points per game. Unfortunately, this would be the last of little Joey that we would see for awhile.
Joe Young then spent a couple agonizing months on the bench without a way to move into the rotation. His big break came when the Iron Man Rodney Stuckey would be lost to injury as well as starting point guard George Hill to a virus. This was many fans' first exposure to the west coast product. He would start to become a regular in the guard rotations and still currently is. He provides fresh legs off the bench and a quick change of pace for Head Coach Frank Vogel. Despite only averaging four points per game this season, when he has been in the common rotation he has been quite effective playing under a high energy offense.
What got me interested in Joe Young after he was drafted was the kind of guy he was. There has been plenty around Indy Sports media about the work ethic of Young. Paul George has also noticed how much he wants to learn from the leaders of the team. Coupled with the insanity work of Myles Turner, you might be hard pressed to find a harder working rookie duo in the league. These guys don't take their opportunity lightly and are constantly wanting to learn. Another likeable moment came in an unexpected Gatorade commercial featuring George and Young. The commercial was a playful tag on what Young considers "fashion". This brilliantly simple commercial was placed almost right after Young began to receive more playing time.
The Pacers seemed to find a diamond in the rough when they picked Joe Young. They locked him up for four years (two with guaranteed contract money) for a really reasonable price. It is my personal opinion that Young will be the next starting point guard for the Pacers. Eventually when George Hill's tenure is over, I have a good feeling we will be seeing Young's number being called time and time again.