According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the trigger-happy shooting guard has signed a one-year deal with the Lakers.
Agent Mark Bartelstein announces Nick Young is signing with the Lakers— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 11, 2013
Per Brett Poirer of Sheridan Hoops, it appears that Young took a pretty substantial discount to sign with the team he followed as a Southern California kid.
Nick Young will sign a veterans minimum contract with the Lakers I'm told by several sources.— Brett Poirier NBA (@BrettNBA) July 11, 2013
It's great that Young is going to realize a life-long dream by playing for the Purple and Gold, but if he's not careful, the experience could turn into a nightmare.
Speaking @NickSwagyPYoung, Bartelstein calls Lakers "team he always dreamed of playing for"— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 11, 2013
Blessed (if that's even the right word) with a confidence that borders on insanity, Young's NBA career has been defined by atrocious shot selection and very little else. Don't be mistaken; there's a ton of athleticism and real skill in the 6'7" guard's game. But so far, the inability to pass up a shot—any shot—has prevented him from being a contributor to a winning team.
For example, Young shot 41 percent from the field and 36 percent from long range for the Philadelphia 76ers last season. Those figures are each just a tick below his career averages of 43 percent and 37 percent, respectively.
That's not ideal from a scoring guard.
And his on- and off-court splits last year showed just how damaging his high-volume, low-efficiency approach could be. When Young was on the floor in 2012-13, the Sixers scored at a rate of 97.7 points per 100 possessions, per NBA.com. When he sat the bench, Philly put up an offensive rating of 100.6.
In other words, Young, whose only remotely useful NBA skill is putting the ball in the basket, made his team worse at the offensive end last season.
LAKERS EXEC: Kobe's gonna be out. Who else can we get to fire up 28 ill-advised shots a game? NICK YOUNG: [appears from thin air] You rang?— Danger Guerrero (@DangerGuerrero) July 11, 2013
Have fun with that, Lakers.
Speaking of fun, the real joy of the Nick Young experiment will come in his interactions with coach Mike D'Antoni and incumbent curmudgeon Kobe Bryant. If Young had trouble keeping his jumper in the holster before, what's he going to do in D'Antoni's more free-wheeling offense?
D'antoni "Cmon, Nick, move the ball. Ball finds energy." Swaggy "Do I not look energetic?" *shoots*— netw3rk (@netw3rk) July 11, 2013
I'll admit that it's easy to focus on the negativity of this signing. Young's statistical profile is just too ripe for criticism. But in the interest of fairness, let's skim through the more optimistic angles.
It's entirely possible that Bryant's presence will be enough to keep Young's more damaging tendencies in check. If No. 24 has a problem with Young's shot selection, you can bet it won't take long for the Mamba to bare his fangs. A strong authority figure might be able to prevent Young from getting too out of control.
Plus, this is reportedly a league-minimum deal. Considering that Young does have legitimate talent, it's pretty impressive that the Lakers were able to scoop him up. Even if Young plays at a slightly below-average level (he has never had a PER above 15.00, which is considered "average"), the low dollar figure makes this deal excusable.
Nick Young at the minimum? Monta Ellis hasn't signed? What NBA is this? In fits and starts, league getting smarter.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) July 11, 2013
Finally, the sorry state of L.A.'s wing scorers can really only be improved by Young's contributions—flawed as they'll be.
From a purely rational perspective, there's really no room for Young on a winning team. But the Lakers are desperate and managed to get him at the cheapest possible rate, so the move isn't a total disaster.
But if Young can't break some of his bothersome habits, Bryant and the other Lakers vets are going make their newest teammate wish he'd never come home.