By Tyler Sullivan Follow on Twitter @TylerSully
The Celtics calling card has been their depth. The fact that they don’t lose too much skill from their starting five to the first five off the bench is something fans hang their shamrock hats on.
Why is it then that they’ve struggled so much with Crowder sidelined with a high ankle sprain? Yes, they lost to Paul George, Kevin Durant and Kyle Lowry all big time players on good teams, but Boston hasn’t even been competitive in their current losing streak.
No question they miss Crowder because he is plain and simple a good player. His defensive prowess is something they might not be able to conjure up in his absence. But his offense, something that the Celtics also miss, should be easy given the players on the roster.
Rookies Terry Rozier and R.J. Hunter have seen an uptick in minutes and both have played decent, inconsistent, but decent.
But what about that guy James Young? Where is 17th overall pick in the 2014 draft? Where is the guy who Brad Stevens ranked the 11th best prospect in a loaded 2014 NBA Draft?
Where is this guy?
The Celtics might be asking the same question.
The 6’6 guard logged a season high 22 minutes in the Oklahoma City blowout, but that had more to do with Kevin Durant plowing the green than Young forcing the issue.
The 20 year old (again, still just a 20 year old) is averaging 14 points per game with the Red Claws and has been up and down from Boston to Portland so many times that he can probably recommend more than a few good diners along I-95, but that’s only good if you’re a trucker or a vacationer, not a fan of the local basketball team.
You can argue that he shouldn’t have come out so early, but trying to fix the NCAA’s one-and-done problem seems too daunting of a task. For today let’s just look at James Young as it relates to the Celtics.
Should the team be blamed for stunting Young’s growth?
It seemed like the Celtics, in the midst of a playoff push, were not willing go through the growing pains with Young handing over his minutes to Gigi Datome in the final month-plus of the season. Yeah they made the playoffs, but were swept by the Cavs, Datome went off to play overseas and what was left was Young who saw no valuable playoff-push action.
Now here we are, nothing has changed in regards to Young’s playing time and more importantly his skill. And with the 6’6″ Crowder out it’d be nice to replace him with another 6’6″ player, one that could maybe play even better offensively in his absence.
The only problem is he isn’t ready and that’s, in part, on the team.
Photo credit: Jim Davis/The Boston Globe