Currently browsing category

Nick Young

Without Nick Young, this Lakers season might be over before it begins

On just the fourth day of training camp, it seems that the injury bug that’s been swarming the Lakers for the past two seasons has already descended upon them.
 
Likely starting small forward Nick Young has been sidelined for 6 to 8 weeks with a tear of his radial collateral ligament in his right shooting hand. He reportedly was injured while defending Kobe Bryant in practice in what seems to be a complete fluke accident.
 
This, my friends, could very well kill this Lakers season even before the first preseason game.
 
Nick Young, an almost lone bright spot in an otherwise dreary last year, was coming into this season as either the second or third most important man on the roster. Despite missing 18 games in 2013-2014, Young set career highs in points, three-pointers made, assists and steals. By almost any definable metric, as well as the simple eye test, Young played arguably the best defense of his career, most of which could probably summed up to him finally giving a crap. In many ways, he was the Lakers’ most complete player on the court, as well as, unbelievably so, a locker room leader. There is almost no way I could properly convey just how valuable he was to a putrid Lakers squad last year, and also no way I could properly convey just how utterly shocked I’d have been last year if I knew I’d be writing these words 12 months later.
 
(Read the rest here at SS&R!)

 … Read more...

Nick Young: The perfect Laker?

Before the season began, I several positional previews for this very site. Most of them predicted doom and gloom, more than a little tinged with negativity. However, nothing I wrote came close to the gnashing I gave to new Laker Nick Young. For reference, here are a few choice blurbs summarizing just how dour I was on the ester while Swaggy P:

Here we are, in his seventh season, on his fourth team, a veteran’s minimum contract and another poor season away from a ticket to the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball League.

And…

If he doesn’t show an ability to stay in the Lakers rotation this year, especially with the starting small forward spot gifted to him, his career could be in jeopardy. All that is because he has been, for lack of a cohesive term, a disappointing bonehead for the majority of his career.

Ooooh. And…

Young is the most offensive type of defender: capable but apathetic. Not having seen every minute of his defense, I’d venture to guess that most of them, like the sample size I’ve witnessed, would show Young with his hands at his sides in one-on-one situations…or him halfway down the court feigning disappointment that he didn’t get back on D.

It goes on:

Offensively, don’t be tricked by his gaudy averages, which include four of his six seasons in double digit scoring. He’s notched league average PERs his entire career, which is probably a symptom of the fact that he’s a career .427 shooter from the field and one of the most emphatic ball-stoppers in all of basketball.

And the parting shot:

In a word, he is selfish. He only cares about how Nick Young scores the ball, all other facets of the NBA game be damned. Hopefully he will benefit from playing alongside consummate professionals like Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Steve Blake. Young will undoubtedly be an offensive weapon to them, but only as a finisher on set shot plays. Other than that, he could be disruptive on both sides of the ball. I can’t imagine him being anything besides incredibly frustrating and disappointing this upcoming season. But at least in that way, he’ll be consistent in some regard.

To quote a the great Cher Horowitz, “That was way harsh, Ty”. Yet, I don’t regret writing any of it.

That’s who Nick Young has been his entire career. A ball-stopping guard who is infinitely more comfortable dribbling between his legs, pulling up, fading away even when it’s far from necessary and shooting the rock. He’s not a great defender, but one that could improve into an excellent one for his position if ever he wanted to. I used to believe that he was just an unwilling ball sharer, but as I’ve watched him this season, I find that it’s less of a question of desire than it is of ability: he’s a truly horrid passer. Sometimes, I’d actually prefer he’d take a pull up jumper with three guys on him rather than try unsuccessfully to make a play for someone else.

(Read on at SS&R…)

 … Read more...

A night at STAPES Center in front of Nick Young’s parents personifies the Lakers fan base

I didn’t expect to truly enjoy watching the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors play live on Saturday. Of course I was looking forward to it–after all, like pizza, goings to STAPLES Center is good, even when it’s bad. But in my head, I went envisioned a full-on worst case scenario: Klay Thompson establishing another career-high, Stephen Curry calmly hitting unimpeded set shots from the arc, David Lee dusting an immobile Pau Gasol in his tracks and Andre Iguodala leaving a crotch imprint on Jordan Hill’s face. I was looking forward to the game, simply because I love NBA basketball, but in terms of seeing my Lakers? I knew it could be a painful night.
 
But then again, I didn’t anticipate sitting in front of Nick Young’s parents on Friday.
 
Throughout all four quarters of a surprisingly enjoyable 102-95 Lakers win over the Golden State Warriors, listening to the Swagy Parents commentary track was an exercise in unbridled enthusiasm. In many ways, it was like going to a high school basketball game again; a mom shouting encouragement at her baby, a father yelping muffled exasperation at bad shots and the two of them exclaiming “just keep shooting”…a statement which explains more about Nick Young than I’d ever expect to learn. It’s easy to forget that regardless of the money, the outfits and the unrelenting, unmitigated #SWAG, he’s still someone’s son, which means that two people out there are going to care about his every move, only as parents can do. It’s an unbridled enthusiasm (they actually called him “Swagy” on several occasions) in which someone can be so invested in what’s happening on the court, and yet ultimately simply be happy that it’s happening at all. Even though a Lakers victory was a relatively stunning development last night, I was taken aback even further by just how the Young family personified the Lakers fan base at large.
 
(Read on at Silver Screen & Roll)

 … Read more...

For lack of better options, these are the LA Lakers small forwards

The Lakers have had plenty of ambiguity to deal with in terms of their minutes at small forward in the days post-Rick Fox. Lamar Odom, Luke Walton and Trevor Ariza all faced obstacles to claiming and keeping their spots at the 3. Ron Artest, before and after his quest for World Peace, wavered between ineffectiveness and excellence while nestled between Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in the line-up. Contributors like Vladimir Radmanovic, Devean George, Matt Barnes and the immortal Jumaine Jones sauntered in and out of the rotation, with the fan base left questioning whether or not these players were worthy of a supporting role on Phil Jackson’s bench.
 
Entering the 2013-2014 season, Lakers fans everywhere dream about the day that those were the pervading questions revolving around LA’s small forwards. Now, the questions have devolved down to whether or not the team has any legitimate small forwards…at all.
 
Metta World Peace, a casualty of the amnesty provision, was cut in the offseason largely due to his $7 million dollar contract that would have cost the Lakers potentially triple that amount in luxury taxes. However, as cumbersome as MWP’s contract was compared to his diminishing returns on the court, there’s no doubt that he is still worthy of a spot in most NBA rotations. His departure left the Lakers without any viable in-house options at the 3, especially with Kobe Bryant on the shelf with a torn Achilles. The LA front office thus spent the summer looking for bargain bin swingmen with the limited financial assets they had.
 
The result is a smorgasbord of reclamation projects, busted lottery picks and anonymous faces, none of which–in my mind, anyway–are particularly inspiring options. Be forewarned Rollers: this is going to be very, very depressing.
 
(Peep more over at Silver Screen & Roll)

 … Read more...