The irony of the Golden State Warriors signing Nick Young was that a team that prides itself on selfless basketball added arguably the game’s biggest ball hog — certainly it’s most boastful gunner.
The man who says God gave him the nickname Swaggy P in a dream claimed in 2014, “I’m the best 3-point shooter in the league.” He keeps his right arm tattoo-free, because it’s “strictly for buckets,” and he once stole a pass from Los Angeles Lakers teammate Lou Williams to fire off a game-winner. Young even openly lamented Golden State’s free-flowing brand of ball during the 2016 NBA Finals:
Welcome to the Warriors, Nick Young! pic.twitter.com/6hBt13b9QK
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) July 5, 2017
So, Steve Kerr may have been tempting fate with his comments at the start of training camp. “I don’t want Nick out there thinking,” the Warriors coach told reporters. “He’s one of the best shooters in the league. He should let it fly every time he’s open. As he gets more comfortable with the guys, he’ll understand where those opportunities will come, when to move the ball on and when to shoot it.”
B/R: Game on the line, you’re open from your favorite spot, but KD and Steph are also both open. Pass or shoot?
NY: Shoot that muthaf**ka, then hit both of them with: “My bad y’all, I didn’t see y’all open. I thought the clock ran out” [laughs].
This is, of course, a joke. Young is a 37.6 percent career 3-point shooter and should feel free to pull the trigger whenever he’s open. It’s why the Warriors brought him in on a $5.2 million midlevel exception. Another shooter on a roster loaded with an embarrassment of riches in that regard can’t hurt, right?
Except, that mentality is also probably why Young won’t be in position to jack threes with the game on the line. Swaggy P will presumably be resting on the bench come crunch time. Garbage time is his, though, which sadly means we may not see a repeat of that time he celebrated a 3-pointer that didn’t go in:
Or maybe we will. The rest of the NBA can certainly hope.
More likely, Golden State’s All-Star quartet stretches the floor so thin that Young is afforded the space to live up to all that potential he’s promised us over the years, and the Warriors are better for it. This is, after all, the team that turned JaVale McGee into a useful rotation player on a championship team.
Personally, I’m just looking forward to a potential Nick Young-J.R. Smith duel in the 2018 NBA Finals.
To his credit, though, Young seems to already be adapting to Golden State. “I found myself passing a little bit more than normal,” he said on Sunday. “It felt good as long as I was getting some assists.”
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