Mavericks Must Draft Joseph Young if Available at #52


I’ll start with a full disclosure: having attended the University of Oregon I am a big Joseph Young fan. But after watching his two seasons with the Ducks closely and seeing him play in-person multiple times I’m convinced he’s a player who will have success at the next level. Not because of any bias – that I’ll admit to, at least –  but because the dude can play.

I’m not arguing that he’ll be an All-Star, or even a starter for that matter. What I am arguing is that the Dallas Mavericks must select him if he’s still on the board at #52 – and would be fools not to. In fact, I wouldn’t be opposed to trying to move up a bit and grab him.

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Young spent the first two seasons of his college career at the University of Houston, where his father Michael played with Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler and remained an employee after a short professional career. But when Michael left the program Joseph transferred to the University of Oregon – a tremendous boon for the team – and earned himself a spot in the hearts of Duck fans forever with his dazzling scoring displays, moxie, and will to win.

Young was absolutely fantastic in Eugene, helping the Ducks to two NCAA tournaments and putting the program back on the map. His junior season was terrific: he averaged 18.9 points on 48% shooting from the field and 41.5% from three-point range while leading the Ducks to a surprising 24-10 record. Young scored 29 points in Oregon’s near upset of #2-seed Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament that March.

Tough to improve on that type of season but Young managed to do it in 2014-15. After the program lost several key players to off-court misconduct and transfers Young found himself as an experienced senior on a team full of youngsters and transfers new to the team.

Expectations were low, with many pundits picking UO to finish towards the bottom of the PAC-12. So much for that. Young upped his game further, put the team on his back, and led them to a 13-5 conference record and an appearance in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game.

Young averaged 20.7 points (10th in the nation), 3.8 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and shot 93% from the charity stripe – second best in the country. He was rewarded for his efforts by being named Pac-12 Player of the Year over several players whose names will be called in the first round of the draft.

Young also led another near upset of eventual finalist Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament, scoring 30 points on 12-25 shooting in the 72-65 loss. This came after 27 points and 4 assists against Oklahoma State in the first round.

In his four NCAA Tournament games for the Ducks: 26.25 points, 3.0 assists, 3.25 rebounds, 52.1 FG%, 40.9 3P%. Not. too. shabby. Especially when you consider that half of those games came against 3x All-Big Ten defender Josh Gasser and the stingy Wisconsin Badgers.

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Young does his damage in a lot of ways. First and foremost: he’s an elite shooter. Mid-range, long-range, off the dribble, hand in his face, it doesn’t really matter. Young is a shot maker.

He’ll create space for a shot in isolation with ease, use ball screens like a seasoned vet to get himself a look wherever he wants on the floor, moves well without the ball, and though he likes the rock in his hands is absolutely capable in catch-and-shoot situations.

But don’t label him as just a shooter. He’s as pure a scorer overall as you’d have found at the college level last season.

Young is quick, savvy, possesses good handles, and is a crafty finisher with both hands around the rim. He’s content hoisting from outside, but also loves getting into the lane and at times actually seeks out contact. Why not when you’re a 93% free throw shooter?

He’s also great in the pick-and-roll, both as a scorer and distributor. His 2.7 career assist average is a bit misleading in that regard. It wasn’t until his senior season that Young served as his team’s primary ball handler, and he averaged 3.8 assists a game when he did.

Not spectacular, but solid, especially when you consider how much the Ducks relied on him in other areas as well. Young is a scorer, yes, but his vision is underrated and he’s a willing passer when the defense collapses or a double-team approaches. He recorded a season-high 8 assists against Washington State to go along with 29 points and 10 rebounds on February 8th.

Young is also a good athlete, which helps make up for his slight frame. He posted a 40.5″ max vertical leap at the NBA Combine in May and showed off his hops regularly with the Ducks.

Rounding out his impressive offensive attributes are his game-changing abilities in the open floor and his penchant for coming up big in late-game situations. Young isn’t a great defender but he has quick hands, plays the passing lanes well, and rapidly turns defense into offense by pulling up effectively in transition, finishing at the rim, or finding a streaking teammate.

I’ve already discussed his performances in big games as a whole, but Young is also a bonafide go-to scorer in crunch time. Here’s a ridiculous 30-footer over an outstretched 7-footer to beat Utah and send the Ducks to the conference tournament championship.

To summarize: Joseph Young gets buckets.

He reminds me a lot of Monta Ellis, who has been a great fit with the Mavericks but will likely suit up for another franchise next season. He’s tough, fearless, and loves the big moment. Actually, with his shooting, Young is almost an Ellis-Jason Terry blend: confident, and capable of scoring in bunches and a variety of ways.

I know, I know, why draft another undersized guard who needs work defensively and doesn’t have a true position? Any skepticism is warranted. But Young’s offensive game is perfectly suited for the space ’em out NBA, particularly for a team like the Mavericks in a scheme like Rick Carlisle‘s. Check out a compilation of his work this season and tell me I’m wrong.

The draft is a gamble, but wagering on Joseph Young at #52 is as good a bet as any.

** The NBA Draft is rapidly approaching! Check out Draft Profiles on potential Mavericks targets **

Tyus Jones – Duke, FR.

Justin Anderson – Virginia, JR. 

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson – Arizona, SO.

Rashad Vaughn – UNLV, FR.

Kevon Looney – UCLA, FR. 

Montrezl Harrell – Louisville, JR. 

Robert Upshaw – Washington, SO.

Sam Dekker – Wisconsin, JR. 

R.J. Hunter – Georgia State, JR.

Jerian Grant – Notre Dame, SR.

Cameron Payne – Murray State, SO. 

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