Free-agent profile: Nick Young
This is the fourth in a series of profiles focusing on this year’s free-agent class.
Player: Nick Young
Most recent team: Clippers
Type of free agent: Unrestricted
Positives: The Lakers have seen up close how Young can instantly tear apart a defense. The USC product is a Lakers killer, averaging 25 points per game on 48.7% shooting, 14 points above his career average. Every one of those performances provided a reminder that the Lakers remain in dire need of a reliable wing scorer besides Kobe Bryant. Having such an option would free up Bryant from receiving pestering double teams.
Young’s knack for driving to the basket, hitting difficult shots against double teams and the occasional long-range bomb would go a long way toward spacing the floor. His speed would give Ramon Sessions a teammate who could keep up with his pace. Considering that Young can also play shooting guard, his presence would also ease up Bryant’s minutes. The Clippers enjoyed that luxury, as Young hit several big shots throughout the postseason.
Negatives: Ideally, Lakers Coach Mike Brown wants his team to remain a defensive-oriented team. Yet Young’s presence wouldn’t help the Lakers with that identity at all. Young offers nothing else in value besides scoring. He ranks 360th overall in total defense, according to Synergy Sports Technology. Young rarely passes. And even when it comes to scoring, that doesn’t always prove reliable, either.
Young shot only 40% from the field last season with the Clippers. He initially struggled fitting in after being acquired from Washington just before the trade deadline. And his shot selection remains questionable.
Verdict: Even if Young has a few weaknesses, he could fill an area that the Lakers need to address. The only challenge is if the Lakers can afford him. The Times’ Mike Bresnahan reported that the Lakers are interested in Young but indicated they could only offer him their mini mid-level exception worth $3 million. Still, Young has remained unpredictable during free agency. After all, he signed with the Wizards after the lockout for only one season worth $3.5 million. Considering Young loves staying in his hometown, it’s possible the Lakers could sway him into making a similar decision.
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