Joseph Young Is Working Very Hard For A Spot In The Indiana Pacers Rotation

Joseph Young has been working incredibly hard this off-season to improve his game. He was unable to crack the rotation for the Indiana Pacers during his rookie season. Now as a 24-year-old, it is crucial for Young to earn a spot in the team’s rotation so he can take the next step as a player to solidify his placement in the NBA. Young has been waking up at 4:30 a.m. for about the past six weeks and has been working out three times per day. Whether he is in the weight room or working on the basketball court, Joseph Young is making valuable improvements to try and make the Pacers rotation for the upcoming season.

Joseph Young told Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports about his recent routine. In earlier parts of the off-season, Young was working hard in the weight room to add muscle too. Before the Orlando Summer League, Joseph Young weighed in at 198 pounds. During the 2015-16 season, Young was listed at 180 pounds, meaning that he has added nearly 20 lbs of muscle. The benefits are truly endless for a point guard that has superior strength and has a sturdy weight to push players off their path.

“I just took my working output to another level. I’m lifting twice a day. I’m getting three workouts on the court a day. Mostly, I’m getting up at 4:30 a.m. every morning for about a month and a half and just working. Just working because I’m trying to get to that next level and be one of the best point guards in the NBA.”

Joseph Young discussed his focus on improving his defensive ability with Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports. Defense is what kept Joseph Young on the sidelines last season because of his inability to effectively contain lane penetration. Having improved his strength and size will help Young with being physical on when defending should greatly benefit Young’s ability to contain dribble penetration. It is even better that Young was taking notes on what veteran guards did with their defense throughout last season. With physical and mental efforts to improve, the defense of second-year guard Joseph Young should be vastly better.

“My main focus is to really get into my guy on the defensive end and put that physicality in him and make him go different ways and not just let him go where he wants to go. That’s why I’ve really been working on my physicality and how close I am and how I am going to approach a seven-year vet when he is attacking me. It’s just learning my angles, and that’s part of the experience and the stuff I had learned this year from most of the vets.”

There has never been a concern about Joseph Young’s ability to score the basketball. When discussing his offensive game with Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports, Young expressed supreme confidence in his abilities. Young was unable to showcase to widely display an ability to create quality shots for his teammates with his passing ability. Facilitation appears to be one of the key areas of focus for Young throughout his off-season. With greater strength, size, and explosiveness, there should be no shortage of opportunities for Joseph Young to drive past his man to pass the ball to teammates for good shots.

“I think my offense is amazing. I don’t think it can get any better by just working. I got to add different things. My goal is to add a different offensive threat. I know I can score and that’s not my main focus.”

Aaron Brooks will be the primary competitor for Joseph Young to compete with for the backup point guard position. Rodney Stuckey could be considered a competitor for the second-unit point guard too since his skill-set resembles more of a primary ball handler as opposed to being an off-ball guard. It is unknown what Brooks has been doing during the off-season, but Young has a good chance beating him out for the second-unit point guard spot if he can just contain dribble penetration, which is something that he has been improving.

Based on advanced metrics, Aaron Brooks is a horrible defensive player and has been his entire eight-season career. Last season, Brooks recorded a -2.8 defensive box plus-minus, which is blatantly bad. In fact, the best defensive box plus-minus that Brooks has ever had was a defensive box-plus minus of -1.5. Joseph Young recorded a -1.5 defensive box plus-minus in his rookie season. Since Young should be a significantly improved defensive player, and his pre-improvement defensive box plus-minus was equal to the best defensive season that Aaron Brooks has ever had, Joseph Young appears to have a good chance of earning the backup point guard spot. The statistics from this paragraph are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.

Joseph Young played in 41 regular season games during the 2015-16 season and averaged 9.4 minutes, 3.8 points, 1.6 assists, 1.2 rebounds, 0.4 steals, 0.8 turnovers, and 0 blocks. Young shot 36.7 percent from the field, 42.3 percent on 2-point field goals, 21.7 percent on 3-point field goals, and 80 percent on free throws. The statistics do not necessarily portray the visual potential that Joseph Young displayed when he was on the court, however, his rookie season was a solid foundation to begin his career. My analysis fits the personal interpretation that Joseph Young gave himself, courtesy of Vigilant Sports, Joseph Young described his rookie season as “a kind of medium rookie year” and said that it was an “ok” season. The statistics from this paragraph are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.

When given a more significant amount of minutes, Joseph Young put together some rather impressive games last season.

Joseph Young had his best game was on January 22, 2016, against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. In that game, Young recorded 28 minutes, 16 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, and 3 turnovers. Young shot an efficient 6-of-12 (50 percent) from the field, 1-of-3 (33.3 percent) on 3-point field goals, and 3-of-4 (75 percent) on free throws. Joseph Young showcased a full display of offensive talent, whether it was dishing out passes to his teammates at just the right time for a good shot, pulling up in mid-range, running the pick-and-roll, or driving the lane, he simply got the job done. The statistics from this paragraph are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.

The second best game of Joseph Young’s career came on January 17, 2016, when the Indiana Pacers faced the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center. Young played 18 minutes, and in those minutes, he recorded 15 points, 1 rebound, 7 assists, and 1 turnover. Young shot 7-of-11 (63.6 percent) from the field and 1-of-1 (100 percent) on his lone free throw attempt. The game against Denver was another game where Joseph Young showed a great ability to dish the ball to his teammates for good shots, drive the lane for a finish at the rim or a good pass to a teammate, usage of the pick-and-roll, and pull-up jumpers in mid-range. The statistics from this paragraph are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.

Unfortunately, video footage is unavailable, but Joseph Young had two other double-digit scoring games in his career. Young had 11 points, 5 assists, and 2 steals against the Phoenix Suns on January 19, 2016, and 10 points and 3 assists against the Miami HEAT on February 22, 2016. During his rookie season, Young had four double-digit scoring games and 14 games with at least 5 points. Young had four games with at least 5 assists and nine games with at least 3 assists. From an opportunity standpoint, Joseph Young had one game with at least 25 minutes, three games with at least 20 minutes, 18 games with at 10 minutes, and 26 games with at least five minutes. So he had a fair amount of games where he received a decent amount of playing time for a second round rookie. The statistics from this paragraph are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.

There are a few key areas that Joseph Young will need to thrive to receive minutes. Being able to do the few things like knock down catch-and-shoot perimeter shots, contain lane penetration on defense, fight through screens, limit turnovers, and set up an offense while getting guys in the proper spots. It is important that Young doesn’t try to force things like most young players do when they finally get their chance to play. The other areas of Young’s skill set are important too, but those primary areas are how he can separate himself from Aaron Brooks to earn a full-time spot in the team’s rotation. Once consistent minutes and trust from the coaching staff are there for Joseph Young, he will then be able to expand his impact on the game to his whole skill-set.

[Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]