As soon as the
His teammates were slow to clear out from under the basket, so Young blew on his hands to stay warm in the chilly gym. Then he got antsy, shifting his weight from side to side before beckoning for a Lakers staffer to throw him a ball.
Once they all moved, he started firing threes. This is the Young the
"You play defense and then you can do anything else," Young said of Walton's message to him. "I can score, I know that, but that's not the only part of my job."
Throughout the summer, Young was not sure if he still had a job with the Lakers.
At the end of last season, he made unwanted headlines when a video of him discussing women other than then-fiancee Iggy Azalea became public. The video was secretly recorded by teammate D'Angelo Russell, creating a rift between Young and the young point guard, though the situation has since been smoothed over.
But when training camp started, Young, 31, was still on the roster.
"This summer, just with everything going on in my life and everything that was being said about me, it makes you step back," Young said.
So is his perceived career-long indifference to defense just perception, or reality?
"I'd say that's 50-50," Young said. "Some of it is just not taking that as seriously as I should at times, but I'm changed now. It's 10 years in the league, I'm changed."
Walton has set out to mold the Lakers into a team that pairs relentless defense with a ball-sharing offense. Young has adapted during the preseason, exerting himself defensively while finding shots in the flow of the offense.
"I have seen him make an effort to be a good defender," Walton said. "I don't know what his motivation is behind it, I would assume it's playing time rather than labels. Nick doesn't seem like the type of guy who really worries about what other people are saying about him, but he's been phenomenal for us."
The Lakers roster is currently at 17, with center
"The whole camp's been important," Walton said Monday, regarding the race to round out the final 15-man roster. "We'll sit down as a group and then I'll sit down with [General Manager]