NBA notes: James Young gets good review after workout; Nerlens Noel gearing up for summer league

May 23, 2014 

Kentucky Wildcats guard/forward James Young (1) hit a 3-pointer as Michigan Wolverines guard Derrick Walton Jr. (10) moved in to defend as the University of Kentucky played the University of Michigan in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, In., Sunday, March 30, 2014. This is first half NCAA Midwest Regional finals action. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff


Former University of Kentucky star James Young was part of a small group of NBA prospects working out for scouts in Thousand Oaks, Calif., on Thursday.

ESPN analyst Chad Ford was in attendance and said he came away impressed by Young, projected to go in the range of 10th to 15th in next month's draft.

"Young may be one of the real sleepers in the draft," Ford said. "I've always been a big fan and everything I saw here confirmed that he has the potential to be a very good NBA player and should be mentioned in the same breath with all the other elite shooting wings."

Ford said Young shot the ball well during the workout, which included three-on-three scrimmages with Louisiana-Lafayette's Elfrid Payton, N.C. State's T.J. Warren, Washington's C.J. Wilcox, Michigan's Glenn Robinson III and Oakland's Travis Bader.

"Young got a lot of love from scouts prior to the season for his shooting in Kentucky practices, and early on he showed why," Ford said. "He was hitting from everywhere on the floor and often rattling off seven or eight three-pointers in a row.

"Young was streakier in games this year for Kentucky, but most scouts attribute that to shot selection. As Kentucky's only real three-point threat, he launched up some questionable shots on occasion. When he gets good looks, he rarely misses.

Ford said the feedback on Young he got from scouts was promising.

"I had more scouts call me about him than any other player in the workout," Ford said. "The refrain is always the same, there's more there than we saw at Kentucky — take him off a team loaded with scorers and he would've had an even more dominant freshman season."

Noel ready for return

Former Kentucky center Nerlens Noel is expected to make his return to the court on July 5 when the Philadelphia 76ers play the host Magic in their Orlando Pro Summer League opener.

Noel, who missed all of this past season while recovering from left ACL surgery, could also possibly play for the Sixers in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas from July 11-21.

"I've been 100 percent for months now," Noel told the Boston Globe. "I feel great and continue to get stronger in all parts of my body, just continuing my growth really. I will be playing in summer games and summer league."

Noel told the newspaper he's eager for competition.

"It's been a long time coming," he said. "I feel I'm definitely ready and focused. The whole offseason, I've focused on being stronger and working on my skill points, working on my shot, which I have progressed a lot with, working on my technique. Every part of my game I feel I've definitely improved on."

George cleared for Pacers

Indiana's Paul George will play in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, which comes as no surprise to the Miami Heat. They were expecting him there all along.

The Pacers announced Friday night that George has been cleared "to return to normal basketball activity," a decision made three days after he was concussed in Game 2 of the Indiana-Miami series.

"Barring any unforeseen complications, he will play" on Saturday in Miami, the Pacers said.

So that settled one lineup issue. The Heat now have a lineup decision to make.

Greg Oden — whose last postseason appearance was April 30, 2009 — might be inserted into the Heat rotation after showing Miami's coaches in recent days that back issues that slowed him down for weeks might finally be a thing of the past. Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra suggested that Oden "could" get some minutes, which would almost certainly come against Indiana center Roy Hibbert.

"If coach needs me, I'm ready to play," Oden said. "I'm definitely ready whenever he needs me."

The series is tied at a game apiece, with Miami grabbing the home-court edge away by rallying for an 87-83 win at Indianapolis in Game 2. The teams have been off since.

The back of George's head was struck by Dwyane Wade's knee as both were trying to get control of a loose ball during the fourth quarter of that game.

The Heat never considered the possibility that George wouldn't play in Game 3.

"Why wouldn't he?" Heat star LeBron James asked.

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