SLAMonline Mock Draft: Sam Young, No. 16
With LeBron James in mind, the Bulls draft Sam Young.
by Aaron Kaplowitz
With the 16th pick in the 2009 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Chicago Bulls select…
Sam Young. The 2008 Chicago Bulls put their potential on display in the most riveting opening round series in NBA history. Led by Ben Gordon’s irreverent scoring barrages, the Bulls engaged the Boston Celtics in one epic overtime thriller after another, pushing the world champions to the brink of elimination. It was fun while it lasted, and Gordon made the Windy City want to believe that it could work — that he could work. But for the Bulls to realize their full potential, we cannot allow his unsustainable play to anchor down our efforts.
My draft plans dovetail my decision not to re-sign Gordon, an unrestricted free agent, in what will prove to be a watershed off-season for the organization. Over the past five years Ben was a pivotal asset to any and all success that we accomplished. Although he has the ability to elevate his game to a scoring stratosphere to which only a handful belong, and although his whimsical shot selection makes for great playoff theater, he has never committed himself on the defensive end. For every two points he scores, he will give those two right back — an assertion that is backed up by his precisely equal Offensive and Defensive Ratings, as developed by Basketball on Paper author Dean Oliver. Gordon’s career Offensive Rating of 107 translates into scoring an estimated 107 points for every 100 possessions. Kobe Bryant, for example, has a career rating of 112. Gordon’s career Defensive Rating of 107, therefore, means that he will also allow an estimated 107 points for every 100 possessions. We can no longer afford to allow his lackluster defense to nullify his electrifying offense.
While the numbers are a useful way to quantify his vulnerabilities, I am more concerned with the je ne sais quois of his game. These hard-to-define shortcomings manifest themselves in his inability to work within an offensive system. This factor alone would have proven to be most fractious as Derrick Rose navigates us through the LeBron Years.
Which leads me to Young. I’ve had the Pitt graduate pegged for the lottery ever since he took the Big East Tournament by storm in 2008. If DeJuan Blair was the Heart and Levance Fields was the Soul of Pitt’s Elite Eight run this past March, then Young was the Star. He displayed an expanded repertoire when it counted most, averaging 23.3 points — and three three-pointers per game during the Big Dance.
In macro terms, Young is the best athlete in the ’09 Draft. He’s a terrific rebounder and arguably the top defensive guard available. He’s a versatile swingman who switched from a 4 to a 3 in college, which will help him transition to the League. Off the court, he’s a polite and unassuming.
Young also gives us the best chance to slow down King James. I’ve already accepted that LeBron cannot be stopped, but I would be naive to assume that he cannot be hampered. Although Young gives up two inches and 15 pounds, he has the body strength, quickness and defensive instincts to remove James from his comfort zone. He is also enough of an offensive threat to force LeBron to expend energy on the defensive end. As the Orlando Magic proved, one player alone will not overthrow the King, but a style can.
It’s important for our fans not to define the 2009 offseason by our 2010 results. Instead of remaining satisfied with one-and-done playoff appearances, we are building a team that we expect to contend for the title by 2012. Young will be the catalyst that will transform our defense from porous to stingy and work within an offense that Rose will commandeer.
|2009 SLAMonline Mock Draft Results|
|1||L.A. Clippers||Blake Griffin|
|2||Memphis Grizzlies||Hasheem Thabeet|
|3||Oklahoma City Thunder||Ricky Rubio|
|4||Sacramento Kings||Brandon Jennings|
|5||Washington Wizards||Jordan Hill|
|6||Minnesota Timberwolves||Demar DeRozan|
|7||Golden State Warriors||James Harden|
|8||New York Knicks||Stephen Curry|
|9||Toronto Raptors||Tyreke Evans|
|10||Milwaukee Bucks||Jonny Flynn|
|11||New Jersey Nets||DeJuan Blair|
|12||Charlotte Bobcats||Terrence Williams|
|13||Indiana Pacers||Earl Clark|
|14||Phoenix Suns||Jrue Holiday|
|15||Detroit Pistons||B.J. Mullens|
|16||Chicago Bulls||Sam Young|