Mike D'Antoni Believes Nick Young Can Win Sixth Man of the Year Award

Ethan Norof@ethan_norofCorrespondent IDecember 2, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 1: Steve Blake #5 and Nick Young #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate during their game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on December 1, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Nick Young has officially allowed his "Swaggy P" demeanor to rub off on Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni.

Young, averaging 16.5 points in his bench role with L.A. this season, is one of the key reasons the Lakers bench has been so remarkably productive.

Although he began the season as the team's starting small forward, Young looks infinitely more comfortable in his role as a reserve in which he can simply come in and play his style of game.

D'Antoni has realized that as well, and is now even starting the early campaign for Young to win the Sixth Man of the Year Award.

Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News has the details from D'Antoni when the coach was asked if Young had a legitimate case:

He should. If we can get our record [good]. That’s going to be the product of the team. He’s playing well enough. But if we surprise people, get in the playoffs and do really well, yeah, he’ll have a really good chance at it.

Prior to this season, Young held a reputation for being a chucker who never met a shot he didn't like.

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While he hasn't suddenly redefined his game, Young is being efficient in his sixth-man role, shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from behind the three-point line.

Young hasn't shied away from attempting to embrace other aspects of his game either, and he's at least trying to make an impact on the defensive end of the floor as well.

The Lakers might not be the most talented team, and they're a definite possibility to miss the playoffs, but there's no doubting that "Swaggy P" has quickly become a favorite for fans, his teammates and the Lakers coaching staff.

That's not too shabby for a guy on a minimum-level contract.