After an inconsistent season with the Wizards, Young, along with most of the team's young reserves, took another tour of duty in the Summer League to mesh with his teammates. Reaching a critical point in his development, Young has shown the tools to be a major offensive threat on the NBA level. Unfortunately, he has a hard time consistently stringing together good quarters of basketball, let alone good games. The four games Young played in the Summer League were a microcosm of that issue, as he once again wavered between utter dominance and inefficient productivity against lesser competition. As one of the only NBA players here that averaged more than 10 points per game last season, Young didn't surprise anyone with his big game ability.
Always lauded for his prototypical size, speed, and leaping ability for a wing, Young's most exciting, and sometimes frustrating, asset remains his shot making ability. Possessing a fluid stroke with solid elevation and a nice release, Young effortlessly drilled shots from the perimeter in his team's rout of the Cavaliers. Hitting five of his eight three-point attempts, Young connected on shots off the dribble, off of passes, from the block, running off of screens, and even a fadeaway 20-footer that came after a jump stop and a pair of pump fakes. Young's assertiveness with the ball placed him amongst the top scorers in the whole Summer League at 23.8 points per game. While that number is very impressive, the fact remains that Young still has his fair share of weaknesses offensively, many of which were still apparent despite his scoring.
Young is often too confident in his scoring ability for his own good, taking more shots with a hand in his face than most players care to try. Though his percentages on these shots aren't bad in comparison to the average bulk scorer, the fact that he takes as many of them as he does can be concerning. This problem didn't rear its head often in the Summer League, as Young was able to move freely in transition and in half court sets without much resistance, finding daylight to put himself in position to score essentially at will.
Moving with a purpose coming off of screens quite frequently this week, he has a lot of potential as an off-screen scorer, though that accounted for a very low percentage of his possessions last season. When he couldn't shake his defender, Young hit a couple of tough shots early in the week, but also put the ball on the floor a number of times, showing off his impressive pull up jumper and tossing in a couple of tough shots near the rim between defenders. Despite naturally fading away on his jumper when driving right and almost always taking the first available jump shot when driving left, Young didn't hurt his team with his decision-making off the dribble in their early contests.
Everything that went right for Young in his 36 point outing against the Cavaliers went wrong in Washington's game against a more talented Clippers team. Young still finished with 19 points, which is not too shabby, but he went only 5-14 shots and turned the ball over 8 times. During the first games where Young showed excellent consistency in his shooting mechanics, he began to rush things more and more as the week went on. To compensate for a couple of defended, short-armed jumpers, Young earned himself a number of trips to the line by attacking the rim aggressively, going 7-7 against Los Angeles. As time goes on, Young would be well served to improve his ability to get to the line to decrease his reliance on his midrange jumper.
Young's overall performance was almost perfectly aligned with what we've grown to expect from him on the NBA level. Offering very little in the form of defensively ability, passing, or rebounding, Young scored at will and didn't do much else. He wasn't too bad defensively, but for a player with his tools, he forces very few turnovers, doesn't close out aggressively, and lets himself get beaten off the dribble by lesser athletes too often. Some of that has to do with a lack of awareness, but it is also an indicator of where Young is at this point in his career.
Blessed with outstanding scoring tools, Young is a useful NBA roleplayer who is capable of lighting up the score board if he gets hot. However, the way he will attempt to score those points will often lead to bouts of inconsistency, which coupled with his lack of versatility, can make him a much less exciting prospect. One can't question Young's skill level, talent, or his ability to score at will in the Summer League, but his aggressive shot selection and ability to make tough shots is just as much a curse for him as it is a blessing when the regular season rolls around. With Washington's roster finally boasting a clean bill of health, Young will need to play a more controlled offensive game to complement his team's high usage players. If he can hit his open shots coming off of screens, not force as many jumpers one-on-one, and focus on his defensive game, Flip Saunders won't miss the occasional 25 point outbursts Young had last season.