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Old 07-29-2009, 09:07 PM   #1
Agent_Zero
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Default Adding Edge To Nick Young

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...071302919.html

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Since joining the Washington Wizards two years ago, Nick Young has always been the carefree California kid who is prone to wearing skinny jeans, a flannel shirt, a wacky hairdo -- and a megawatt grin, whether he was slumping or on a hot streak.

He cracks jokes and pulls off nifty crossover dribbles and flashy dunks with the same vigor. But as Young gets ready for his third summer league with the organization, Coach Flip Saunders has challenged the talented shooting guard to ditch the smile and develop a mean streak. He wants Young to play with a chip on his shoulder, like he has something to prove.

"Nick is a very happy-go-lucky guy and he smiles a lot. I think as a young player, you don't always need to smile," Saunders said. "You're better off having a little of that nastiness. You never saw Michael Jordan smile. The only time he smiled was when he was kicking your butt."

Saunders has also been working with Young to help him become more effective shooting off screens and making plays for others. The coach may have more success with that, though, than getting Young to stop grinning.
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"It's been kind of hard. I can't not have fun," Young said, sporting a freshly cut mini-Mohawk while flashing a grin, after the Wizards concluded minicamp yesterday. "When I have fun, I smile a lot. He told me, 'Just go out there in kill mode.' I've been trying it a little bit, but at times, I catch myself smiling and joking. That's natural for me. But if they want me to change, I have to change a little bit."

Young contends that his playful nature shouldn't be confused with him not taking basketball seriously. "I feel like I'm serious," he said. "I just happen to smile all the time. I guess that's something people think is a weakness, but it got me here."

The Wizards are still waiting for Young to make the next leap. After an uneven rookie year and an up-and-down second season, Young remains a bit of a tease. He is capable of catching fire and going on a dazzling shooting spree, as he did at one point last season when he scored 103 points over a four-game stretch. Young, however, has struggled to grasp schemes, often looks lost defensively and sometimes plays with blinders when he has the ball.

"He's got very good skills. I think at times, as I've talked to him before, he showed maybe a little bit undisciplined offensively and he took some bad shots," Saunders said. "I think he can flourish in that type of situation where he knows where he's going to get shots and where he doesn't have too many decisions to make. I think it's a matter of being able to pick up defensive concepts. And just playing in the flow."

Young heard his name mentioned in several trade rumors this summer and said he was "shocked" when President of Basketball Operations Ernie Grunfeld acquired Randy Foye and Mike Miller before the draft -- and not because it crowded the back court. Young initially thought he was part of the deal. Young said Grunfeld called him recently and assured him that he was in the team's future plans.

Young averaged a career-high 10.9 points and was the only player to appear in all 82 games last season, but he was disappointed in his overall performance.

"With Eddie Jordan, I started to play more minutes. Then with the coaching change, it kind of put me off track a little bit," Young said. "I found myself in a hole. I kept trying to dig myself back up. I got a fresh start. I got to make the most of it."

With a new coaching staff and more competition for minutes, Young said won't put more pressure on himself. "I'm not really worried about it," Young said of the competition for playing time. "If I'm out there playing and do what I'm able to do, I think I'm going to be all right. I'm ready for my breakout year. I hope this is the year, right here."

If it is, that smile really isn't going anywhere.

Looks like Flip is really pushing him this offseason and will continue to push him during the season...most likely give him the minutes he deserves as well. Man, if guys like McGee, Young and Foye can play decent for us, I love our chances to make some noise.

Last edited by Agent_Zero : 07-29-2009 at 09:10 PM.
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Old 07-30-2009, 01:13 AM   #2
The Big Skinny
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Default Re: Adding Edge To Nick Young

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Originally Posted by Agent_Zero
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...071302919.html



Looks like Flip is really pushing him this offseason and will continue to push him during the season...most likely give him the minutes he deserves as well. Man, if guys like McGee, Young and Foye can play decent for us, I love our chances to make some noise.

We need him to step up this season. He has all the right tools, he just needs to put it all together and become and elite player.
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Old 07-31-2009, 10:14 PM   #3
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Default Re: Adding Edge To Nick Young

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Originally Posted by The Big Skinny
We need him to step up this season. He has all the right tools, he just needs to put it all together and become and elite player.

The thing that actually sucks about this year is that I could have easily seen Nick having a breakout year is that I just don't see him getting the minutes necessary for it. Like, Foye will probably play 28 or 30 minutes a game, and Miller will play at least a few at shooting guard (unfortunately; I like him a lot more as a small forward, at least if what I've read about his defense is true), leaving Nick with, what, 15 minutes a game to do his thing? And with most of those minutes coming next to guys like Blatche, Butler, Foye and other guys who will look for their shot, making him something like a third option. I could see his efficiency raising no matter what, even if the whole coming off screens thing was a summer league exclusive, since he's going to have more open looks and layups considering all of the attention the other guys are going to draw, but I just can't see him getting enough shots.

What I'm really hoping will happen as far as Nick's development is that 1) he continues to come off screens, posts up more often since he's already got a nice post up game and Sam Cassell can only help him with this, and go one on one as a last resort and when the shot clock is pretty low and 2) we make a trade involving Mike Miller and some other guys, maybe Mike James' expirer and Crittenton and/or a draft pick or two for Shane Battier and Carl Landry. Battier would be another wing, but he's one who will play lockdown defense on guys like Paul Pierce and Lebron while allowing other guys to score (really, who needs five or six guys capable of dropping 20 on any given night? it's just overkill). Landry would give us another big who rebounds, defends, and can foul the **** out of anyone who dares step in the lane, and he's another guy who wouldn't need to take a lot of shots. Houston would do it because they really don't need role players when they're most likely lottery bound next year, plus they could use the expirers and extra perimeter scorers, since Aaron Brooks, Von Wafer, and TMac's corpse aren't going to be able to create enough offense for them to win more than 30 games next year.

Anyways, I hate to sound like too much of homer, but I could easily see Nick Young becoming a good player next year. Not necessarily an all-star, but at least as good as a Rip Hamilton or Ben Gordon. He'll never score 20+ a game so long as he's playing next to three other scorers, but if he wound up on a team like Charlotte, Houston, or even New Orleans, I could easily see him becoming a top 15 in the league scorer, maybe even averaging as much as 25 a game if he's the first option and plays around 40 minutes a game.
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