Realistic Expectations for Nick Young in His 2nd Season with the LA Lakers

Odd as it may seem, the season-ending injury to Kobe Bryant last year may have been the best thing to happen to his Lakers teammate, Nick Young.

Left without their Black Mamba for all but six games, the injury-riddled Los Angeles Lakers, under former coach Mike D’Antoni, were in desperate need of a consistent scorer. It was an opportunity Young never saw coming, but one he quickly took hold of and blossomed under.

Boastful in the most fun-loving way, the 29-year-old former USC standout easily played to the spotlights of Staples Center.

While the Nick Young of the Washington Wizards, L.A. Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers was often considered a selfish shooter with a disregard for defense, the Nick Young of last season began to resemble a more serious veteran, frustrated with losing and eager to shoulder a lion’s share of the workload.

Playing with a two-year contract which paid him just $1.1 million last season, Young produced the best numbers of his seven-year NBA career.

The 6’7” shooting guard was one of the league’s best coming off the bench, recording career highs in scoring (17.9), rebounds (2.6) and assists (1.5) while averaging just over 28 minutes per game.

The Lakers rewarded the L.A. native with a four-year contract that will pay him a total of $21.5 million. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak upon confirming that Swaggy P would be back, per Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times: 

When Nick became a free agent in June, I expressed hope that we would be able to bring him back on a contract that was in the best interest of both the Lakers and himself, and I am proud to say we were able to do so. Nick was a bright spot for us last season, and we are happy to retain such a skilled player who is committed to being a part of what we are building as a franchise.

Granted, Young’s return seemed to hinge on whether...

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