When you think of the most improved player on the Wizards, the title has got to go to Nick Young.
First, he came into the league showing flashes of potential but a lot of inconsistency in his first two years, then his inconsistency became so frustrating that he was basically taken out of the rotation last year and would play some minutes one game then face a DNP the next.
Now that Gilbert Arenas is gone, who did mention that Nick Young would be a star in D.C., Young is getting the star treatment by averaging monster numbers over the past two months.
December - 18.3 ppg
January - 21.1 ppg
February - 21.5 ppg
It's going to take a couple of more explosive scoring games for Young to get his average up due to the fact that Flip Saunders barely gave him any playing time in the beginning of the season. Ex-Wizard Gilbert Arenas had to 'fake' an injury in order to get him some burn on the court.
"Yeah, I told him I'd sacrifice playing tonight so he'd get some time," Arenas said he told Nick Young, who scored the team-high 24 points in the victory against the Atlanta Hawks. "Because I know he's kind of frustrated not getting a chance to crack the three position, especially since we're going three guards. So I told him I'd fake an injury or say something's wrong with me, so he can start."
Looking at Nick Young's skill set is shockingly similar to the skill set that elite NBA scorers have...remember I said scorers.
In order to be a great all-around scorer in the NBA, you have to have one of the best jump shots when coming off of screens or creating your own.
Nick Young just happens to have that.
He is shooting 45 percent from the field this year, which isn't too bad for a SG who barely saw minutes in the year prior. His shooting can be off every once in a while but can easily explode and give you 13 points in the second or third quarter.
Young seems to have his own version of the MJ or Kobe fadeaway as his favorite signature move seems to be a two dribble pull up jumper in some random defenders face that makes you say, "No! No!...Nice shot, Nick!".
Although he gets called for carrying almost once every three games, Nick Young has major handling skills that show a numerous amount of combinations to make someone get on their heels or make them fall like he did in the video to Gerald Wallace.
Kobe Bryant isn't too fond of fancy dribbling and you won't find him crossing people up, but Nick Young could bring something new to the table that elite scorers haven't really brought since the Allen Iverson days.
Nick Young's ability to create a dribble off an isolation is amazing and he normally gets the shot off nine times out of ten. Players often make the mistake of playing Nick Young too tight and overplay him as it often results in Young using his quickness in his dribble to get to the basket.
Nick Young has BOUNCE and he was known more for being an athlete before becoming one of the Wizards' premier scorers.
Normally people don't expect him to be that athletic due to his laid-back playing style, but that assumption usually ends up with someone getting dunked on. His athleticism was shown to the viral world when he did a 360 behind the back dunk in warm-ups while at USC.
He was recently asked if he would take a dunk contest invite or the Most Improved Player award by TruthAboutIt.net and he answered:
"Most Improved Player. Dunk Contest is nice with the all-star weekend and all the hype but Most Improved Player is what you did all year."
With Nick Young excelling in his jump shot, his leaping ability, and his handles, it allows him to add his own little twist into certain moves he makes. As you can see in the video, he uses his handles to split a double team and uses his leaping ability to gain enough air to use his creativity to do a total 360 spin on Lamar Odom.
Something that some elite players are known for is the amount of creativity they put in their game. Whether it come from Kobe's pump fake pivot spin to Michael Jordan's two dribble then fade move; all are go-to moves, all are out of a result of a player's creativity.
Lets face it, there are more games where the Lakers needed Kobe than games where they didn't. You can pretty much apply that logic to any team's top scorer.
Why bring this up?
Because the Wizards were on the verge of being slaughtered by the Heat right at tip-off on December 18th and all the oddswere against them, including the so-called "Wizards" fans in their home-court that were mostly wearing Miami Heat jerseys.
There is no doubt about the fact that the Wizards needed Nick Young in that game. He constantly challenged Dwayne Wade and scored on him throughout the game which escalated to having Lebron James guard him the whole fourth quarter.
What Kobe/MJ is to the Lakers/Bulls is what Nick Young is to the Wizards because of the fact that he is the most consistent scorer on the team that always gets his name called when the team needs him.