The Lakers have inquired about L.A. native Nick Young, according to agent Mark Bartelstein. They had interest in Young last summer as well
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 1, 2013
Can I rant a bit on here? Is that okay? Can I direct it at Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak? Yes? Awesome.
So, Mr. Kupchak… do you realize that Nick Young hates to pass the basketball? You’ve got Dwight Howard, who when healthy is the best center the NBA has seen since prime Shaquille O’Neal, mulling a decision as to whether or not to return to your franchise next year. He’s been a bit agitated at the scarcity of his usage on the offensive end (usage % of 22.2 percent last season is down from 27.2 and 26.1 the previous two years in Orlando). AND YOU WANT TO BRING IN NICK YOUNG. Nick Young is a guard who just doesn’t pass.
Now, the Lakers are familiar with guards that tend to not pass quite as much as they should. Kobe Bryant gets a lot of grief for not passing enough. Endless internet memes and constant criticism on the blogosphere of his decision making has helped to cement that identity. He had 469 assists last season and has had at least 300 in every single full season since he’s been a starter. Nick Young? In his 6 season career, he has never had at least 100 assists in a season. ONE HUNDRED. He’s averaging 1.6 assists per 36 minutes in his career. Two guys that record assists at a higher rate are Kendrick Perkins and Roy Hibbert. Not even kidding. Those two defensive-minded centers record assists at a higher rate than Nick Young, who’s a high-usage guard.
I’m also a big supporter of field goal attempts to assists ratio as a tool to measure a player’s tendency to pass or shoot. It’s not a perfect metric, but it tells quite a bit. The league average FGA/AST ratio for guards, based on my calculations from figures on the NBA.com media stats website, is 2.707. This means that leaguewide, for every 2.707 field goal attempts that a guard takes in the NBA, there is about 1 assist. If the ratio is lower than this number for an individual player, they tend to pass instead of shoot. If the ratio is greater than this number, that player tends to shoot instead of pass. Anyways, in the career of Nick Young, he has a FG/AST ratio of about 9.3. That basically means he’s a chucker. When faced with the decision to pass or shoot, he shoots over three times more often than the average guard in the NBA. Do the Lakers really want to invite that sort of player to their basketball team?
So, Mr. Kupchak… one of the biggest issues that the Lakers is team defense. Guys don’t know their assignments, help too aggressively on defense, which leads to shooters being abandoned behind the three-point arc and 7-footers being abandoned underneath the basket. Nick Young is actually a pretty solid 1-on-1 isolation defender, but then again, Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace are excellent isolation defenders too, but they have shown recent tendencies to play poorly off the ball. This is one of the most glaring flaws in Nick Young’s game.
Young has a pretty poor basketball IQ. I hinted at it a bit on the offensive end when discussing his abhorrence of passing. He tends to rarely make the fundamentally sound basketball play. It’s evident on the defensive side as well. He’ll go in for a steal on the center posting up and leave a 40% 3PT shooter in the corner.
It’s not really that his defense is horrendous, but there are certain better options available. Corey Brewer, Tony Allen, Gerald Henderson, and Matt Barnes are all free agents seeking around the same amount of money as Nick Young would be, and they are all better defenders.
So, Mr. Kupchak… I’m sure that you’re considering signing Nick Young so that the Lakers have someone else to shoot. Besides Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, there really isn’t another scoring threat among back-court players for the Lakers. I get it. But just know that Nick Young is NOT EFFICIENT AT ALL and that even though he shoots frequently, IT MAY NOT BE A WISE DECISION THAT WILL BENEFIT THE ORGANIZATION.
Nick Young had an effective field goal percentage (weights threes more heavily since they count for more points) of .482 last season, which identically matches his eFG% for his career. For a guy who shoots and shoots and looks at open teammates, smirks, and shoots again, this isn’t very efficient.
Here are some other free agents that shoot better (eFG% last season listed), and are looking for about the same money (these guys actually pass sometimes too!):
- Dorell Wright – .508 eFG%
- Martell Webster – .551 eFG%
- Carlos Delfino – .532 eFG%
- Francisco Garcia – .505 eFG%
- Randy Foye – .518 eFG%