Upon arriving in Philadelphia,
Nick Young had two items on his agenda.
He had to undergo an MRI on
his left knee, which turned up news that the Los Angeles Lakers guard stands to
miss at least the next two weeks. Then, Young went to the King of Prussia Mall.
Since Young, who played for the 76ers last season, cannot play against his old
team Friday, he opted for the next best thing.
“I want to go out there and
play against them, talk some trash to Spencer (Hawes) and Evan (Turner) and
Thad (Young) and have some fun. That’s the downside,” Young said. “But I went
and got a suit jacket because I still want to be out there and talk some trash.
I’m looking forward to it.”
Young came to Philly under the
auspices of a season that never came to fruition. He, Dorell Wright and Jason
Richardson were brought aboard as shooters with which the Sixers would surround
Andrew Bynum. But Bynum, beset by knee injuries, never played. And Young, who
was given a one-year, $5.6 million deal, never lived up to the expectations
created by his financially bulky contract.
The Los Angeles native, Young
took a one-year contract worth $1.1 million from the Lakers. He has a player
option for next season that he’s likely to pick up.
“Being able to play at home
and for the Lakers is great,” said Young, who’s out for at least two weeks with
a non-displaced fracture of his left knee cap. “I was seeing my options, but I
was looking at the Lakers and the opportunity that was going to be there for
me. Playing for them and being home, I couldn’t ask for better.”
Young has experienced a career
renaissance with the Lakers, for whom he’s averaging 16.9 points (second behind
Pau Gasol) on 41.9 percent shooting.
With the Sixers, under Doug
Collins, he was an on-again, off-again personality. He was Swaggy P, an
affable, congenial player who was always smiling. Some days, he was liked.
Others, he was not. Some days, he was playing in crunch time and contributing.
Others, he was coming off the bench only when the game was out of reach.
“Philly was good. It had its
ups and downs,” Young said. “Obviously I wish I played more. But the city and
how they embraced the Swaggy P Movement, I didn’t know they were going to be
big on it, but they enjoyed it.”
Young played only eight of his
final 25 games last season with the Sixers. The other 17 were DNP-CDs.
“Just sitting there and
watching it, it’s hard. It was hard for me,” Young said. “I didn’t know why I
wasn’t playing. (The Sixers) were bringing in players from the D-League and
they were playing over me. It ain’t like I cussed (Collins) out or nothing. I
was just sitting and waiting. But Doug hits me up from time to time. He texts
me. He says he’s proud of me and stuff.”
In Young’s words, last season
“is what it is.” And, Young said, it could have been different.
“Drew never got a chance to
play. I know the fans were going crazy over that,” he said. “But what shocked
me was this year. I had no idea they were going to trade Jrue Holiday, but
obviously they’ve seen something in Carter that no one else did.”
That would be Michael Carter-Williams,
Holiday’s successor as the Sixers’ point guard. Young will get a good look at
the rookie. Only, it’ll have to come from the Lakers’ bench.
Labels: Andrew Bynum, Dorell Wright, Doug Collins, Evan Turner, Jason Richardson, Jrue Holiday, Los Angeles Lakers, Michael Carter-Williams, Nick Young, Pau Gasol, Spencer Hawes, Thad Young