Sam Young’s time with the Pacers cut short
Sam Young was supposed to be the guy to keep LeBron James, and other athletic wing players in check. The Pacers went after the 6-foot-6 forward over the summer, after their season ended in the second round of the playoffs at the hands of James and the Miami Heat. They wanted someone that could irritate and slow him down.
Less than a week before two big assignments — James (Tuesday) and New York’s Carmelo Anthony (Thursday) — Young badly sprained his left ankle in practice, was evaluated, and subsequently waived by the Pacers, the team announced Sunday.
Young’s bad fortune, which would sideline him for a few weeks at best, may have ultimately cost him. The Pacers had to make a decision by Monday at 5 PM EST, otherwise his contract would have become fully guaranteed. Ankles are often tricky and perhaps, they weren’t sure exactly when he could return to his role at small forward — a position where they’re not at full strength.
In addition to his role on defense, Young provided help on the wing position as Danny Granger missed significant time with his documented knee troubles. Coach Vogel utilized a three-man rotation at the wing spot that included Paul George, Gerald Green and Sam Young, who quietly went about his business in roughly 16 minutes of court time per game.
Paul George has elevated his game this season, to which head coach Frank Vogel said last week, ”Paul George is becoming a beast of a player on both ends of the court…and probably the best wing defender in the NBA.”
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Young’s release likely gives another recently waived player a new home because the Pacers need a comparable wing defender. They can sign someone, as soon as Monday, to a 10-day contract.
Young averaged 3.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in 28 games this season, including three starts in the second week of the regular season while the Pacers tried to find the right combination without Granger.
“I need a hug,” tweeted Young after yesterday’s game, his last as a Pacer.