Lakers

Lakers' Nick Young isn't living up to his swagger

Coach Byron Scott urges Nick Young to play defense as well as offense

It's almost time to replace a word in the nickname Nick Young gave himself last month.

When he proclaimed himself to be "IDM" (I Don't Miss), he left himself open to ridicule if he started missing. He's done a lot of it in six games this month, making only 21 of 74 attempts for an icy 28.4%.

Seeing how "I Definitely Miss" doesn't have the same cachet, Young will want to start making some shots.

"I've relied on my three ball too much," he said Monday. "I've got to get back to playing my overall game, attacking the basket, getting to the line."

He hasn't enjoyed January, understandably, atypically subdued after making six of 32 three-point attempts (18.8%).

"That's how the basketball gods are talking to me right now," he said.

Back in November, when Young was hitting shots and the Lakers were scoring road victories in Atlanta and Houston, Young said he was the best shooter of all time, conveniently forgetting Larry Bird, Ray Allen, Reggie Miller and, in more recent times, Stephen Curry.

He might have had the quote of the year after scoring 17 points against the Hawks, proclaiming, "It's like my swag just rubbed off on everybody."

Young recently revealed that the P in his other moniker, "Swaggy P," stood for prophet, an example of his personality that often leads to tilted heads around him, if not amused smiles.

Now reporters line up in a semicircle to peck away at his deteriorating game, not for funny insight that's sometimes even accurate.

"He's in a big slump," Lakers Coach Byron Scott said. "The only way he can get out of it is you've got to keep playing and you've got to think about the other end of the floor a little bit more right now."

Scott said he had a "good talk" with Young about ways to be effective when shots aren't falling.

"You can't all rely on just the offensive end of the floor," Scott said. "If he wants to help us win, you've got to rebound, you've got to defend, [get] steals."

Bryant returning Tuesday?

Kobe Bryant practiced for over an hour Monday and "feels a whole lot better," Scott said.

Bryant was expected to play Tuesday against Miami, though Scott wouldn't officially say it.

"He said he's ready to go, but I said, 'Let's talk again [Tuesday] and we'll go from there,' " Scott said.

Bryant has sat out six games to rest, including the Lakers' 106-94 loss Sunday to Portland.

Scott continued to take the blame in two ways — for playing Bryant too often earlier this season and for declining to let him play at all more recently.

"He told me that he felt pretty good [Sunday] but 'pretty good' wasn't good enough for me," Scott said.

Bryant, 36, played 37.1 minutes a game in November, a heavy workload that was among the league leaders at the time.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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