Former Pitt forward Michael Young said signing a two-year contract with the Washington Wizards opens a new avenue for his game to grow.
And some people might be surprised by what they see, he said.
“I have a lot more to my game that a lot of people haven’t seen,” he said Wednesday while preparing to play for the Wizards’ summer league team in Las Vegas.
Young, who can play both forward spots, signed a two-year, two-way deal, meaning he can play this season for the Wizards or will be assigned to a G-League team (formerly the NBA Developmental League).
The contract, however, can be converted into a full-time NBA deal at any time, he said.
Players who split time between the NBA and G-League can make between a guaranteed $75,000 and $275,000.
Young, who wasn’t drafted, said his defense previously was “a question mark,” but that uncertainty turned that part of his game into his top priority.
“Defense is something I take pride in, something I love to do. It got me where I am today,” he said. “I feel like I proved that with my (pre- and post-draft) workouts.”
Young also developed a 3-point shot last season under first-year Pitt coach Kevin Stallings. He hit 42 of 123 attempts after making 19 of 57 in three previous seasons under former coach Jamie Dixon.
“His body is ready for the NBA,” said Tony Falce, who worked with Young this spring at Elite Skills Training in Miami. “I think teams didn’t realize Michael has a pretty good jump shot, too. Michael can really shoot the ball.”
Said Young: “I was able to show I can shoot the ball. “It just shows my versatility. It helped me with a lot of teams. The versatility I have in my game really helped me in this process.”
Young (6-foot-9, 235 pounds), a four-year starter with the Panthers, said signing an NBA contract is “a blessing” after growing up in Duquesne.
“Just making it out of the city I’m from (and going to Pitt) is like signing an NBA deal to me. I can’t put it into words.”