Young, Hunter Must Catch 'Shot Amnesia'

SALT LAKE CITY – Many believe that consistent shooting is all about the stroke.

In Salt Lake City, it appears to be all about the mind.

Second-year swingman James Young and rookie R.J. Hunter arrived at the Utah Jazz Summer League with reputations as lights-out shooters. Thus far, they’ve been more along the lines of shut-out shooters.

Following Tuesday’s loss to the 76ers, Young is now just 6-for-22 from the field and 2-for-12 from downtown through two games. Hunter, meanwhile, is 0-for-8 from the field, including 0-for-6 from beyond the arc.

In Young’s case, it’s not as if he has faced stifling defense. He says his shooting issues are not as much about what’s happening between the lines as they are about what’s happening between his ears.

“I was just thinking too much, every shot that I was taking,” he admitted Tuesday night. “I had a lot of open looks. The coaching staff kept telling me to shoot, so I’ve just got to be more calm and not think so much.”

Hunter was not available to speak to reporters after the game, but one would assume that he is going through the same situation. He’s a rookie who’s adjusting to a new role, and that isn’t an easy process.

“He was a high, high-level scorer this past year and was asked to do almost everything for his team,” said Celtics summer league head coach Jay Larranaga. “I think he’s trying to find that balance … He’s trying to find his way right now and we’re confident that he will.”

Boston’s coaching staff doesn’t seem too worried about the first two performances from Young and Hunter. And it shouldn’t be.

These two guys have been elite shooters for years. Their ability to put the ball through the basket didn’t disappear overnight.

All they need to do, as Brad Stevens says, is forget that Monday and Tuesday even happened.

“The biggest thing is that to be a great shooter you have to have – I don’t know if it’s the right term – but I always call it ‘shot amnesia,’” Stevens said. “You’ve just got to forget the last one. Whatever the case may be, you’ve got to just move on to what’s next.”

Up next, the Celtics will face off against San Antonio on Thursday night at 7 p.m. for their third and final game during their short stay in Salt Lake City.

Young and Hunter have nearly two days to clear their minds. If they’re able to do so, the odds are that they’ll also begin to put the ball through the basket in the fashion that we’ve all come to expect.

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