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A Philadelphia 76ers blog, hosted by Christopher A. Vito

Thursday, April 18, 2013

EXIT INTERVIEW: Did Nick Young do enough to earn that “big contract”?

(Associated Press)
When Nick Young enters, people take notice. Case in point: The man was wearing a leopard-print sport jacket Wednesday as he left the locker room en route to the team bus.

The same could be said for the way he played in the season finale, entering a game the 76ers led by 21, only to draw attention by playing six woeful minutes, going 0-for-3 from the floor with one turnover.

Young, who made $6 million this season, has an expiring contract. He's said all along that he wants “a big contract,” though it's unlikely he'll get it from the Sixers. Young's rise and fall is peculiar. He was a solid sub off the bench before earning 11 consecutive starts. He shot himself out of the starting lineup, then played only seven of the final 25 games.

The guy they call Swaggy P shot 41.3 percent from the floor and 35.7 percent from 3-point range, both ranking second-worst in his career for single-season averages. He also averaged 10.6 points with 1.4 assist-to-0.8 turnover-per-game ratio. They're not sterling numbers.

Because Young's instinct is to jack shots at will, he came a defensive liability in crunch time of winnable games … or even in games in which the Sixers had early leads. His specialty, which worked for a team with a losing record, was helping the Sixers rally. But a team that has an interest in turning around its fate might not have a spot next season for a guy like Young.

Quick assessment: Unless Young is willing to take less money, he won't be in a Sixers uniform next season. A guy who's paid to shoot didn't do so all that well and, because his game is so one-dimensional, it's difficult to rationalize him fitting in with what likely will be a more defensive-minded coach than Doug Collins. The Swag has left the building.

Young, when asked whether he thinks he'll return next season, was candid.

“Probably not, no,” he said. “We'll see. Free agency is tough, but, you know, it's always fun when you know you're going to be somewhere.”

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