It's official: Nick Young is having a bad season.
So says his coach, Byron Scott, and really anybody who understands basketball.
The first part of the four-year, $21.5-million extension the self-proclaimed "Swaggy P" signed with the Lakers last summer has not gone as planned. Not even close.
The 17.9 points he averaged last season under coach Mike D'Antoni? Gone. The 44% he shot? A ghost.
"Either you are having a good year or you're not. He's not having a good year," Scott said Friday. "Hasn't shot the ball well and I think he's probably the first to admit this hasn't been the type of year that he expected."
Young is averaging 13.4 points and shooting a career-worst 36.6%. He's aware of it.
"I know I'm a lot better than that," Young said quietly, a departure from his typically ebullient personality. "I let it get to me a little bit, playing on a bigger stage and hearing it every day. It made me try to force to get out of it instead of just playing my natural game."
He got off to a great start, happily calling himself the best shooter of all time after the Lakers won in Atlanta, one of their top victories this season.
He took credit for it after scoring 17 points, saying, "It's like my swag just rubbed off on everybody." Then he compared himself to the top shooters of all-time.
That is, if you consider putting oneself atop that list a true comparison.
But Scott wants better shot selection from Young once he returns from a sore left knee that has sidelined him six games, including Friday's 97-90 loss to Memphis. Better movement away from the ball would be a start.
"A lot of his shots are tough and under duress," Scott said. "Everything can't be catch [the ball] and 18 dribbles and try to get a good shot off. When he does it that way, it's one of two things — it's a home run or it's a strikeout.
"I know Nick thinks he's up there with Larry Bird and Reggie Miller and all these guys from a shooting standpoint but you look at their field-goal percentage and you look at his, he's not there."
Indeed, Young's career accuracy is 42.3%, while Bird's was 49.6% and Miller's was 47.1%.
Scott hasn't given up on Young. He can't. Young, 29, is under contract for three more seasons and $16.3 million.
"You hope in March, April he can come out of it because you want him to go into the summer with some confidence in knowing that he can still get it done, can still make shots," Scott said.
"I would say I don't think his confidence has been shaken but I would be telling a lie because I think every shooter that goes through this, you start to wonder if you're ever going to get it back. Or you wonder if you're as good a shooter as you think you are. Mentally is where this really tests you."