6 Reasons Nick Young Will Be One of NBA Free Agency's Biggest Steals

Michael FoglianoAnalyst IJuly 26, 2012

6 Reasons Nick Young Will Be One of NBA Free Agency's Biggest Steals

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    When the Philadelphia 76ers signed free agent Nick Young, the reaction was mixed. However, it should be recognized that the Philadelphia front office got it right (I know, I'm shocked just as much as you are) by inking Young to a one-year, six million deal.

    Young, who is just 27 years old, is a premier shooter from both mid and long range, and he will certainly fill the void of recent departure Lou Williams.

    Despite the vague plan the Sixers have, bringing in Young was a smart signing, and nonetheless, a steal.

Still Has Potential

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    Young is just 27 years old and joining a young Philly squad that could be where he fits.

    Although he's not super young, he still has potential to be a consistent scorer. He proved he was capable of this in Washington just two seasons ago when he averaged 17.4 points per game.

    After being flipped to Los Angeles for half of what was already a shortened season, Young never really got the chance to settle and get in his groove.

    Also considering the Sixers flourish in the transition game, Young can run the floor with their young players and pick up points on the fast break. 

    The talent and athleticism is all there. It just seems that Young has yet to be in an environment that favors him and Philadelphia could very well be it.

Defense

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    Usually solely known for his stellar offensive ability, Young is an underrated defender.

    Measuring at 6' 7" and with a startling seven-foot wingspan, Young is an extremely effective defender against atypical two-guards with such a substantial size advantage.

Doesn't Demand the Ball

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    A good thing about Young is that he does not need the ball in his hands the way a lot of players do.

    What I mean by this is he does not need to be a primary facilitator and spread the ball around like Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Andre Iguodala in the case of the Sixers. Young will not interfere with Holiday and Turner's growth in spreading the ball around.

    Instead, he can work off screens to settle for jump shots and work along on the perimeter.

One of the Best Shooters on the Market

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    Philadelphia knew from the start that Williams was not coming back and replacing him was a must for the offseason. Not to mention, they also lost three-point specialist Jodie Meeks.

    When looking at the entire free-agent class, Young was easily one of the best shooters.

    In fact, he shot a solid 37 percent from three-point range (he's shot higher than 40 in the past) and also shot 40 percent from the field.

    Other options on the free-agent market included Jamal Crawford and O.J. Mayo. A 32-year-old and a player who has yet to live to potential and wants to change his position (via Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas/Fort Worth)? Uh, yeah. No thanks. I'll pass on them. Young was easily the best option of the three.

Scoring Spark

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    Young will provide the Sixers with a great scoring spark, especially while coming off the bench.

    The Sixers have always lacked a player who can just flat-out score. Although Young is not a No. 1 guy, he can score at will and provide that ability.

    He averaged 17.4 points per game just two seasons ago and 14.6 last year. Young has the size and athleticism to get by defenders in effort to create his own shot or get to the rim.

    The ability to come off the bench and swing the game in the Sixers' favor by shooting lights out is something Young is capable to do.

The 1-Year Deal

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    This really explains how this was such a low-risk/high-reward transaction. If Young plays great, he's easily regarded as a steal, considering the Sixers did not invest a lot in him.

    Because Young has a reputation of not being a team player and sometimes bringing a bad attitude to the court, this one-year deal is really a "prove it" contract. If Young wants to stay, he needs to show that he's worthy.

    The worse-case scenario is he doesn't play at a high level, brings a bad attitude and the Sixers do not bring him back for another season. There's not a lot of commitment here.

    Plus, it's not like the Sixers are contending for a title next year, so there is really nothing to lose.

    If there's any coach in the league to fix a player's motor, it's Doug Collins, and when he's working to stay on the team, he's going to give it his all.