J.R. Smith set the tone for the way gunners are now viewed in the NBA last season. He went from a knucklehead to an award winner overnight.
Now, Nick Young wants in on the pie. Young is a guy who has great scoring ability, but the rest of his game isn’t exactly blowing anybody away. He doesn’t turn the ball over a lot, but he doesn’t pass a lot either. Essentially, Young is a guy who comes in and shoots a lot.
This season, Young has looked pretty good for the Lakers, averaging 14 points a game in 25 minutes. He is also dedicating himself to playing smarter, and within an offense. In the Lakers win over Detroit on Friday, Nick Young stepped up and took a charge late in the game, and it ended up sealing the victory.
So if Young keeps this play up, could he be like Smith and win the Sixth Man of the Year? His coach thinks so:
“He should. If we can get our record [good],” D’Antoni said. “That’s going to be the product of the team. He’s playing well enough. But if we surprise people, get in the playoffs and do really well, yeah, he’ll have a really good chance at it.” …
“I’m loving it with his concentration and ability not to take a play off,” D’Antoni said. “We have a few guys who have home run trots and were not engaged. But for the most part, most guys have gotten that out of their game. They’re engaged. A lot of that is due to the chemistry of the team and how they feel about themselves. We can keep getting better. He’s playing both ends of the floor. He’s playing phenomenally.”
The Lakers are 9-8 on the season, and they have played better than most people had thought they would. I picked Young as a guy who could have a breakout year before the season began, and it looks like he’s on track to do so. If the Lakers do make the playoffs, I don’t see why he wouldn’t at least be considered for the award. If he doesn’t win it, at least he can still call himself “Swaggy P” for the rest of his life.