Making it to the NBA is a new beginning.

Players with a high-ceiling in college sometimes fall flat once they’ve taken the next step. The NBA is the most competitive basketball league out there, and if you’re not constantly working, you’ll fall behind.

That’s not the case for Joe Young. He is young, talented and shows and immense amount of potential. Young is yet to have a breakout season or put up similar stats that he did in college, but his work ethic separates him from the rest.

They call him Joey Buckets.

Nov 19, 2013; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks guard Joseph Young (3) brings the ball up court against the Utah Valley Wolverines at Matthew Knight Arena. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

In his 4 year span at Houston and Oregon college, Joe developed into an elite scorer. Young began developing on the Houston Cougars averaging 11.3 PPG, 2.4 ASTS, 3.6 REBS shooting 41% FG. After moving schools and taking his talents to Oregon, Young’s scoring potential was on full display his final year, where he averaged 20.7 PPG, 3.8 ASTS, 4.4 REBS shooting 44% FG.

He was named Pacific-12 Conference Player of the Year in 2015. In fact, Young has scored the most points out of all the Pac-12 POY winners since 1991. Notably ahead of players such as Kevin Love, Brandon Roy, Derrick Williams and James Harden.

Joe Young was described as a great scorer with a limited playmaking ability and careless ball-handling. Since he’s been drafted to the Pacers, Joe Young hasn’t shown his scoring ability consistently. Although it could be said he hasn’t had an opportunity to shine either.

No conclusions about his game should be drawn. He’s yet to have a season where he averages over 10 minutes a game or played more than 42 games.

Sixth man like Lou?

If we compare Young to Lou Williams, who is also an undersized guard with a great ability to score the ball, we can see similarities.

In Joe’s latest run, he played 33 games on 4.1 minutes averaging 2.1 PPG. William’s first season had him playing 30 games on 4.8 minutes averaging 1.9 PPG. Lou’s second season had him playing 61 games on 11.3 minutes averaging 4.3 PPG. Young’s first season had him playing 41 games on 9.4 minutes averaging 3.8 PPG. Whereas, in Lou’s third season, he would play 80 games playing 23.3 minutes averaging 11.5 PPG. Going into Young’s third season, he isn’t expected to play near 20 minutes.

Joe Young likely won’t get the opportunity Lou had to develop into the Sixth-man of the Year we know him as now. But Young deserves to be given an increase in minutes to prove himself and show his increased production on the court.

For some players in Joe’s case, it’s discouraging, but the Pacers guard is eager to show his improvements on the court. If there is one thing that separates him from others, it’s this great work ethic that is unmatched.

The Grind Never Stops for Young

Young wasn’t satisfied with his rookie year. He thought it was “ok” but decided he had much to work on. While most people are asleep, Young wakes up at 4:30 am to workout.

“I just took my working output to another level,” Young explained to Vigilant Sport. “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.”

Young hasn’t stopped his grind coming into his third season, he wants the media to see his improvement on the floor.

“I decided this year I’m going to be more silent about it and just show it on the court,” said Young.  “I don’t need to show everybody what I’m doing. That’s part of growing, and getting better every day and making my teammates better. That’s the plan.”


Finally, Young feels the pressure of the make-it-or-break-it season on the Pacers but rises to the challenge. While Joe loves the team and it’s organization, the NBA is a business and he could be possibly bringing his talents to another team.

However, with Cory Joseph and Darren Collison ahead of Young, maybe it would be the best opportunity for him. Just as the Pacers have accepted the challenge of developing Victor Oladipo into an All-Star, they should accept the challenge of bringing out the 6’2 guard’s full potential this season.

Young might not become like his star cousin Paul George in the league, but if his career can play out similarly to Lou Williams, he can become a valuable asset to any contending team.

Don’t count out Joe Young yet.