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Blueprint for Nick Young to Thrive with Los Angeles Lakers

August 29th, 2013 at 1:12 AM
By Anousheh Emadi

'Nick Young' photo (c) 2011, Keith Allison - license: After playing for the Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Clippers and the Philadelphia 76ers, Nick Young is returning home to L.A. The California native signed a two-year deal that includes a player option in the second year with the Los Angeles Lakers. Young was brought in because of his versatile scoring and athletic ability. 

And in appropriately timed Los Angeles Lakers News, reported that general manager, Mitch Kupchak had this to say:

"At 6'7, Nick's size, ability to create his own shot and athleticism make him a versatile player who will give our lineup multiple looks on the floor. He's an exciting player, and we're excited to have him on our roster."

So how can Nick Young exceed expectations with the Lakers?

1) Score Efficiently

Although the former USC product is known as an inefficient shooter, Young won't be taking many low percentage shots next season. With Kobe Bryant drawing attention at the perimeter, and Pau Gasol's excellent passing at the post, the 6'7'' wingman will receive many open opportunities to shoot.   

In Mike D'Antoni's offensive scheme where players frequently shoot outside jumpers, Young is expected to flourish. While Young's three-point percentage was only 35 percent last season, the 28-year-old connected on 50 percent of his threes in pick-and-roll situations, according to Synergy Sports. 

Though Swagy P is used to scoring on isolation attempts, Young needs to play off his teammates more often. With three very capable points guards in Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar, the athletic forward should have no problem in relying on others to create easy shots for him.

The Lakers aren't expecting Young to score 20 points a game, but they are anticipating him to become an efficient scorer.      

2) Play Hard on the Defensive End

While Nick Young isn't known for his defense, the team is counting on him to prosper on that end as well. Now that defensive stopper, Metta World Peace is gone, the Lakers are dependent on having a capable perimeter defender, besides Kobe. Either Wesley Johnson or Young is going to have to embrace that role. 

While the L.A native clearly has the advantage over Johnson at the offensive end, whoever plays better defense might be the one that earns the starting small forward spot. Since Young wants to remain with the Lakers beyond this season, it might be in his best interest to work hard at improving his defense.

Developing on the defensive end will certainly transform Young into a more complete basketball player.  

3) Provide a Strong Leadership Voice

Although the Lakers already have many veteran leaders like Kobe, Gasol and Nash, having mature players on the squad is never redundant. In fact, having leaders help improve the team's chemistry, and L.A. surely had their fair share of troubles last season.

The six-year veteran must provide a good locker room presence, especially around the youngsters.

Young also has the chance to expose himself to guys with a lot of NBA experience. Having a strong leadership voice is the key that team's in the future will look for in players.

Although Nick Young has already carved out a nice career as a role player, he should be everything the Lakers want from a small forward if Swagy P follows this blueprint.        

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Tags: Basketball, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Nick Young, Pau Gasol, Small Forward, Steve Nash

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