Why Nick Young Is Perfect Low-Risk, High-Reward Starter for LA Lakers

Replacing Kobe Bryant in the starting lineup is an impossible task for the Los Angeles Lakers, but free-agent signee Nick Young is the perfect low-risk, high-reward starter to fill in while the Black Mamba heals from an Achilles tear.

That is, of course, if Kobe misses the August return date he's shooting for, per ESPN's Dave McMenamin via Twitter. But even if Bryant is ready to go for the season opener, Young should be the starter for the foreseeable future at the small forward position, according to general manager Mitch Kupchak.

The Lakers are only able to offer the veteran’s minimum to free agents after signing center Chris Kaman to the $3.2 million “mini” mid-level exception, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times via Twitter. Because of their sticky financial position, the Lakers should be thrilled to add a sharpshooting guard on a one-year deal worth $1.18 million, per Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.

Last season with the Philadelphia 76ers, Young shot 35.7 percent from three-point range. That percentage was average compared to the rest of the NBA, but it was more efficient than Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and even Bryant, who shot 32.4 percent from distance. As a career 37.4 percent shooter from long range, Young’s time in Philly could certainly be viewed as a down year.

Statistics are one factor, but another matter entirely is Young’s ability to catch fire from deep. He’s shown in the past that his knack for getting hot can swing games, even on the highest stage.

In the first round of the 2012 NBA playoffs, Young aided the Los Angeles Clippers in a miraculous Game 1 comeback against the Memphis Grizzlies by knocking down three clutch three-pointers in less than a minute. He finished with 19 points in just 24 minutes. The Clips capped a 99-98 victory by outscoring the Grizz 35-13 in the fourth quarter.

Few role players have the ...

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