Las Vegas Aces
Photo Credit: WNBA

FSM Presents: Las Vegas Aces 2021 Season Preview: Jackie Young

Franchise Sports Media

 

(Editors Note: We here at FSM want to congratulate Cole on getting married last week! We wish nothing but love, happiness, and a lifetime of memories for Cole and his beautiful bride Sommer!) 

 

FSM’s Cole Huff continues with our Las Vegas Aces coverage for the 2021 season with part 5 of his player preview series. This week’s focus is on guard Jackie Young.

 

 

Jackie Young 3
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

Jackie Young Bio:

Measurements: 6’0; 165 lbs

Age: 23

Position: Guard

Years Pro: 3 

Season Stats: 2020 → 11.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists on 49.2/ 23.1/ 85.2 shooting splits 

Playoff Stats: 2020 → 7.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists on 30.9/ 16.7/ 90.5 shooting splits

 

 

CONDENSED RECAP:

 

The former No. 1 pick of the 2019 draft recovered nicely during the 2020 WNBA Wubble after an average rookie season with the team. As key scorers opted out of the season, Young had to boost her impact, which she did by upping her scoring average by 4.4 points. While she had somewhat of a breakout regular season, she took a step back as the postseason played out.

 

STRENGTHS:

 

If there’s one thing you need to know about Jackie Young’s game, it’s this: she’s going to run the pick-and-roll to exhaustion. Why? Well, she’s quite dominant in that aspect of the offense — let me explain. 

Young isn’t your typical pick-and-roll ball-handler; she’s not turning the corner looking to get downhill and create for others, and she’s also not trying to get to the basket for layups. What she does do efficiently is maneuver screens and often re-screens to make her way to her kill spots — those being the elbows and free-throw jumpers. Numbers show that Young made 35 of her 68 field goals attempts (51.5%) out of the pick-and-roll, which includes 27 made jump shots.

 

While her assists per game fell from 4.5 in 2019 to 3.0 in 2020, Young still is cable of being a good passer. Part of the reason for the dip in numbers could be partly due to her becoming more aggressive as a scorer and taking more shots per game than she had in the previous season. Also, as she grew more comfortable in her new role and responsibilities, the assists began to pile up — growing from 2.0 assists per game in July, 2.3 in August, and 4.9 per game in September. 

 

WEAKNESSES:

 

Jackie Young scores the majority of her baskets without a pass. In other words, she doesn’t need anyone to spoonfeed her open looks or for a coach to draw up any elaborate plays to get her some shot attempts. But while a lot of her shots come unassisted, she does rely heavily on screens, which is indeed an assist in its own right.

When the opposing teams had the opportunities to drum up specific game plans over the course of five-game playoffs series’, Young struggled to find offense. As a result, she dropped from 51.5% pick-and-roll shooter to 31.8, a big reason for her decreased efficiency in the postseason. In the WNBA semifinals, the Connecticut Sun blitzed and hard-hedged the ball-screens with Alyssa Thomas — forcing Young to pick up her dribble or turn the ball over. The eventual champions, Seattle Storm, used help defenders to close plug the gaps and close driving lanes when Young would try come off the pick-and-roll. Young failed to recognize where the next available pass should go and instead was zeroed in on the two-man game.

 

The diminished pick-and-roll scoring was even more hurtful to Young’s game because of her low usage in other areas of the offense. For instance, she’s not able to space the court. Opponents have almost dared Young to shoot to be a catch-and-shoot player from the perimeter, and she rarely budges. Young shot only 3-13 from distance in 22 regular-season games and went 1-6 in eight playoff games.

 

POTENTIAL ROLE:

 

Jackie Young 4
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Aces

For as much nitpicking and deep-diving, I’ve done on Young’s game; there’s no question that she’s a good player and an important piece to the 2021 Las Vegas Aces team. Aces head coach Bill Laimbeer tasked Young with becoming an aggressive off-the-bench scorer, and to her credit, she thrived in that role.

“I think the burden of being the No. 1 pick in the draft and coming into a quality team like we had last year now is gone,” Laimbeer said at the start of last season. “She didn’t know what to expect coming in, both what was expected of her and what she could do in this league after coming out as a junior. She has a good handle on what she can do now and what’s expected of her. I expect a big breakout from her.”

She joined reigning WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year Dearica Hamby to form the highest-scoring bench in the league (35 ppg) during the 2020 WNBA regular season

“It was very obvious I played a little bit timid, a little bit hesitant,” Young said. “I wasn’t taking open shots. I was really just not being who I was, not living up to my potential. It’s just having the confidence in myself to take open shots and to help lead the team. That comes with a year under my belt.”

With that success, there’s no doubt in my mind that Jackie Young will find herself right back in that role — leading another powerful bench that has landed even more firepower this offseason.

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-Cole Huff– Franchise Sports Media

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