Many NBA executives are currently taking time to scout a bevy of young and promising prospects in hopes of snagging a special gem or two in next month's rookie draft.
With so much potential talent available, drafting in the first round can sometimes leave an executive or two feeling confident they'll surely reel in a player with talent that will translate to the NBA level.
But when it comes to the second round, there aren't as many sure bets. That said, one player some important decision makers are curious to take a chance on is Arkansas guard B.J. Young.
Young participated in the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago earlier this month, but received some mixed reviews. He's an eccentric shot-taker, but not always considered to be a consistent shot-maker. At just 6'3" and 180 pounds, Young is too small to be listed as a pure-bred shooting guard. Still, the combo guard might be lucky, as his skill-set is increasingly becoming a hot commodity for NBA teams.
In the NBA, the likes of Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson, Eric Bledsoe and more have gained favor over the past few seasons for being high-scoring guards who can explode and pour in the points off the bench. This provides quite the boost for any player's team. What's more, many of this year's playoff squads employ an explosive combo-guard on their second unit. Needless to say, a player with such ability is a dangerous weapon to have in any team's arsenal.
So indeed, Young may be in luck. Having a consistent shooting stroke is undoubtedly a plus, but even NBA teams often appear content to ride or die with similarly hot/cold players. Teams can live with one's cold streaks as long as when they are in fact able to turn up the heat, there's absolutely no stopping them.
Young has the potential to emerge as such a player, and thus, is garnering consideration as a late second-round draft selection. Still, his other skills are incredibly raw. Though he's able to score in bunches, Young doesn't appear to have another concrete skill or ability that is fully developed just yet.
With this all in mind, the 20 year old's most likely path to the NBA may ultimately be through the D-League. Should Young get drafted as a later selection in the second round, his contract won't be guaranteed. He'll have to fight and claw his way towards earning a spot on an NBA roster. Obviously, both Summer League and training camp will serve as two prime opportunities to do so.
Whether he makes an NBA team's opening night roster or not, Young may still find himself in the minors, nevertheless. A big league squad could always assign him there, or should Young not be able to make the final cut(s), he could always be retained by an NBA team's D-League affiliate so that familiar executives can keep a closer eye on him.
Though no one with the same skill set as Young took the same path last season, there were plenty of other players who were stashed on D-League rosters for intrigued decision-makers to continue monitoring. Lakers' 2012 second round draft pick Darius Johnson-Odom emerged as a starring attraction for the Lakers' NBADL affiliate in the season's early months before being waived and opting to go overseas. The likes of both Tyler Honeycutt and Scott Machado were both waived by the Rockets earlier in the year as well, but later subsequently caught on with Houston's affiliate. Honeycutt went on to win a minor league championship, and Machado was later snatched up by the Warriors.
Either way, expect Young to continue warranting some serious draft consideration. He has a favorable skill-set, and as many NBA teams demonstrated by exploring the D-League last season, there are plenty of ways to help further a player like Young's development while keeping a close eye on him as a potential future contributor. It just may take some time.