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'Whatever it takes to get back': Joe Young hosting NBA teams at workout on Saturday
The Pacers' 2015 second-round pick says he's more mature and has improved his mindset after three seasons away from the NBA. Now he wants back in.
Houston native Joe Young is gearing up for a workout in front of NBA teams this weekend. The guard, drafted 43rd overall in 2015 by the Pacers, is locked in on earning his way back into the league.
He just needs an opportunity.
He’s never lacked belief in himself, and he wants to make absolutely clear to teams that he’s willing to earn it.
“Training camp (invite), G League, whatever it takes to get back in the league,” Young told Fieldhouse Files this week. “Anything to knock the door down.”
He is hosting a workout for NBA teams on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Yates High School — where he starred and was named the 2010 Texas Mr. Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year. He’s expecting double-digit teams to be present to see him demonstrate that he is in shape and good to go.
“I can handle the ball, I can pass it and I’m a volume shooter,” he said. “I can knock down shots at a high level. I think it’s a good opportunity for me to show my talents and how much better I’ve gotten as a player.”
Young, 29, has spent the last three years playing overseas in the Chinese Basketball Association, last year in Beijing. That was difficult on him, especially during the pandemic. He made an effort to donate thousands of dollars in supplies, including personal protection equipment (PPE).
On the court, he dominated — an elite scorer putting up ridiculous numbers, even more so than when he played in the G League. He averaged more than 38 points and six assists per game.
“The mindset I had out there was to go out and win, lead my team and get better at the little things that I didn’t do when I was in the league,” he said. “It was a great opportunity to go out there for three years. I’m more mature. My mentality is on another level and I’m just ready to show how much more elite I am as a player.”
He brought up his change in mentality several times.
“If I get on a team,” he said, “I’m just going to work as hard as I can and show a different message. If my time is not there, I’m going to work until my time comes and I’m going to be ready. My goal is to show the teams that I’m on this level, I can play at this level and I’m mature — on and off the court.”
From 2015-18, he appeared in 127 games with the Pacers but did not earn meaningful minutes. During his final season, he shot 25 for 66 (37.9 percent) from distance. The Pacers declined to pick up the fourth-year team option on Young's deal, and he elected to play over in the CBA.
“I know the only thing I can do is continue to work hard — and I’ve been working out three times a day — so my goal is to sit here and continue to grind,” he continued. “I’m going to get that call. I feel like I know the system now and I don’t feel like I’m all the way out right now. It’s all about finding that right opportunity and show teams that I’m mature for a spot and mature to be back in the NBA.”
Training camp open across the league on Tuesday. Teams can bring up to 20 players to camp, then rosters must be trimmed to 17, including two two-way contracts, before the start of the regular season.
Like on the basketball court, Young is looking for a shot.