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January 04, 2018

Source: Sixers plan to sign former Kentucky wing James Young to two-way contract

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010418-JamesYoung-USAToday Mike De Sisti/USA Today Network/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Milwaukee Bucks player James Young during media day at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Science Center.

With Furkan Korkmaz nursing a Lisfranc injury and Justin Anderson still dealing with shin splints, the Sixers are in dire need of depth on the wing. They're on the verge of adding some, as the team plans to sign 22-year old forward James Young to a two-way contract, a team source confirmed to PhillyVoice on Thursday evening. 

The planned acquisition of Young was first reported by Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days.

If Young's name sounds familiar, you may remember him as a member of the 2013-14 Kentucky Wildcats team that went all the way to the national title game. He secured a place on the Final Four All-Tournament Team with his play down the stretch and is probably best remembered for dunking the absolute hell out of the ball in the second half of their National Championship loss to Connecticut.


Taken in the middle of the first round by the Boston Celtics in the subsequent draft, things haven't exactly gone to plan for Young in the years since. He struggled to crack the rotation for a Celtics team still in the process of rebuilding from the ground up, and has bounced between Summer League gigs, training camp tryouts, and G League teams in most of the time since.

But there may yet be a useful player inside Young, who has been reliable at the one thing teams expected him to do coming out of the draft: shooting. Young struggled to shoot the ball in limited opportunities with the Celtics, but he has succeeded at a high volume in the G League this season, making 37.1 percent of his attempts on over nine shots per game. That's a staggering volume, and while he's never going to have that sort of green light in Philadelphia, the Sixers will take any bench shooting they can get on the wing.

Young also fits the profile of a two-way guy better than Jacob Pullen, who was waived on Thursday in advance of the move. The soon-to-be signee is in his fourth season of pro ball yet is still only 22 years old, and may yet have some potential to unlock under the right guidance. The defense isn't likely to be very good and you're not going to be able to trust him to run much offense, but you could say the same of most guys being brought in on two-way deals.

The Celtics castoff might just fit in with the diehard fans, too. In an interview with Chris Reichert last fall, he laughed off the idea of his career being at the end of the road at such a young age.

I mean ... it's a process. The league is an up and down thing. It is what it is, you know. I'm here and I'm going to get better every single day. I'm not here to look down on anything, I'm truly just here to get better and it's definitely a process.

Once Markelle Fultz returns, the Sixers will soon have three core players who need to have the ball in their hands to succeed. Taking a flyer on a shooter who can play away from the ball isn't a bad gamble, and we'll see if he gets a real chance to show off what he's got.


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