Welcome to the 2017-18 edition of the Young Bucks Tracker. This year, we’re taking a different tact. With Milwaukee now having a G League franchise, the Wisconsin Herd, each Thursday we’ll either track the progress of the players who might be of help to the Bucks in the future or a current member of the Milwaukee roster. We’ll also give updates on the other young players from the previous week.
This is the 1st edition of the 2017-18 Young Bucks Tracker.
Young was a first-round selection, No. 14 overall, in the 2014 draft by Boston. However, he saw limited action in three years with the Celtics — 89 games while averaging 8.4 minutes.
After having his rights renounced by Boston, Young played with New Orleans in the summer league but was without a job until the Bucks signed him Sept. 6. He was waived a month later without appearing in a preseason game. However, he was one of two Bucks affiliate players assigned to the Wisconsin Herd (along with JeQuan Lewis) but not one of the two players Milwaukee signed to a two-way contract (that would be Gary Payton II and Joel Bolomboy).
But boy is Young making a case for himself to one day get back to Milwaukee.
He’s the second-leading scorer in the G League at 27.7 points per game and is also averaging 5.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks while shooting 51.7 percent from the field, including hitting 31 of 69 3-point attempts (44.9 percent). Young’s Player Efficiency Rating is an outstanding 32.4 and his true shooting percentage 69.4 percent.
Young was named the G League player of the week in the season’s second week and followed that up by scoring 41 points on Nov. 21, his second straight 40-point outing.
But it isn’t just offense with the 6-foot-7 swingman from Kentucky.
“(Young) is a talented scorer, everybody already knows that,” Herd head coach Jordan Brady told the Oshkosh Northwestern. “The thing I like about how James is playing is that he’s really locked in on the defensive end of the floor. Defensively, he’s trying to be a more consistent player on that end of the floor. The offense for him is going to be there.”
— Cliff Alexander has played just four games with Wisconsin but has made a quick impact. The 6-foot-9 forward out of Kansas is averaging 20.0 points and 9.0 rebounds despite playing just 26.6 minutes per game. His PER is 26.5 and his TS% is at 69.9 percent, both of which are second on the team to Young. Alexander appeared in eight games with Portland in 2015-16.
— Former Wisconsin forward Vitto Brown was waived Monday. He averaged 7.6 points and 5.2 rebounds in five games with the Herd.
— This year’s top draft choice, D.J. Wilson, played in a career high 12:51 in the win at Sacramento on Tuesday. He had four points on 2-of-3 shooting with two rebounds and an assist.
— Thon Maker, last year’s top pick, played in a career high 32:59 in the Nov. 22 win at Phoenix, recording 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Maker had never played more than 26:40 in any game in his career, and that came in Milwaukee’s last season’s finale against Boston.