There haven’t been many bright spots in the Los Angeles Lakers season. Pau Gasol has had a subpar year, Kobe Bryant suffered another major injury, Steve Nash is losing out to father time and, as a whole, the Lakers are putting their finishing touches on their worst season in franchise history.
However, Nick Young has somewhat found a home with the lowly Lakers — specifically, he’s settled in to a sixth man role (or something close to that) nicely this season. Young is the leading scorer (17.5 PPG), all while doing it off the bench, which is also a career-best for him.
Granted, he’s the leading scorer on a team that’s 25-53, but he’s the leading scorer for the LAKERS.
It matters. I think.
I think it’s also a positive for both him and the Lakers. In a transition era, that the Lakers are about to embark, it would be nice to have a quality bench, or any solid and defined role for someone not named Kobe Bryant. And that could very well be Young.
Apart from leading the team in points per game, he’s also shooting 43 percent from the field and 38 percent from distance this season.
Young has been one of the more consistent players for the Lakers this season and in a campaign as bad as 2013-14 will go down in the history books for LA, that says a lot. Especially for a player like Swaggy P.
There are a whole lot of questions that the Lakers will have to answer before the start of next season — what do they do with Mike D’Antoni, who do they draft and what this team (apart from Kobe Bryant) will look like?
So many questions and quite frankly, as we’ve seen this season, there just aren’t that many answers.
I’m not sure if re-signing Swaggy P will answer any of the questions above, but he can help stabilize one aspect of the roster. The great thing is that Young wants to be part of the team, maybe more than the Lakers want him on the team.
“Of course I want to be here and be a part of a team that’s going to the playoffs and fighting for championships and really get a chance to get that feeling of being a part of that Laker parade and having my little speech like (Shaquille O’Neal) did, ‘Can you dig it?’ Have my own sayings, you know? So, I’ve thought about that a lot. That would really be a great dream come true.”
Young made it sound like he thinks those dreams can be realized.
“I’m very confident,” Young said when asked about his chances of returning to the Lakers. “I think we’re going to come to some kind of agreement and hopefully it happens. We just got to see what they’re going to do.”
Young has a player option for next season that is worth just north of $1.2 million. Obviously, with the type of season that he’s coming off of, he’s going to opt-out. However, that doesn’t mean he’ll have the desire to leave, as he noted above.
In a very weird way, Swaggy P needs the Lakers and the Lakers need Swaggy P. If they could afford him, I don’t have any doubt that Nick Young will be back in LA next season. And, ironically, signing Young won’t be out of desperation (like it was last offseason), it’ll come as a part of a plan.