Can Joseph Young Make the Indiana @Pacers Roster?


With the 43rd overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, the Indiana Pacers opted to draft University of Oregon standout Joseph Young. For those unfamiliar with the 2015 Pac-12 Player of the Year, Joseph Young is a 6’2” combo guard with some serious offensive talent. He originally began his collegiate career in his hometown at the University of Houston in Texas where his father was the Director of Basketball Operations, but later transferred to Oregon for his final two seasons following his father’s departure from the Houston program. He then went on to carry the Ducks to the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight in 2014 and Sweet Sixteen in 2015, where they were knocked out by the Wisconsin Badgers both years.

Young showed incredible offensive prowess in his time at Oregon, averaging 19.8 points per game across the two seasons and making baskets from all over the court, whether it be shooting deep threes or finishing hard at the rim with electrifying dunks. He finished the 2015 season ranked 9th in scoring with an average of 20.7 points per game and was unquestionably the focal point of Coach Dana Altman’s offense.

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Young is a very talented player, but joins a crowded backcourt rotation in Indiana. George Hill and Rodney Stuckey are very likely to start at the point guard and shooting guard positions, respectively, and Young will be forced to compete for backup minutes at the two guard positions with veterans C.J. Watson, Donald Sloan, and C.J. Miles. Playing time will not be easy for Oregon’s leading scorer to come by in the early going in his career, but he could thrive if the right situation presents itself.

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George Hill is considered to be one of Indiana’s franchise cornerstones and showed that he may finally be realizing his potential with an impressive run at the end of the 2015 NBA season, but he has dealt with several injuries throughout his career and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him go down for an extended period of time once more. Donald Sloan did a great job filling in for an injured Hill in 2015 and would likely take over the starting job, but Young could find himself with increased minutes and an opportunity to prove himself.

At just 6’2” and 180 pounds, Young isn’t much bigger than your average American male. However, he primarily gets by off of his athleticism and shooting and plenty of smaller players have succeeded in the NBA with the same skillset. The Pacers have stated that they intend on running a very fast-paced offense in 2016, and that could be a huge reason why they decided to draft the dynamic guard. The Ducks played at a very fast pace shooting early and often, and that is likely to make Young’s transition to the Pacers much easier.

Young is best with the ball in his hand, but Coach Frank Vogel is not likely to design plays for him over the likes of Hill and Paul George. Despite this, the talented court general could thrive by running the team’s second unit and could prove to be a very useful scoring punch off of the bench. His road to playing time won’t be easy, but the Pacers are a great fit for Joseph Young and he could potentially find success as a sixth man as soon as his rookie season.