The Golden State Warriors have locked up their championship core, and are now looking to add reinforcements to their All-Star-laden cast. Among the names the Dubs are targeting? Former Lakers swingman (and unabashed chucker) Nick Young, reports Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
At first blush, Young on the Warriors sounds nothing more than fodder for late-night basketball Twitter. You can already imagine the collective freakout the first time Young shoots a contested three instead of passing to a wide-open Stephen Curry at the top of the key. But as more than just a meme, Young could actually be a very effective signing for Golden State.
The Javale McGee/reclamation angle is tempting, but Young already began repairing his reputation last season. Swaggy P played well for the Lakers under Luke Walton, shooting 40.6% from three, his best mark since 2010. Perhaps more importantly, Young also showed signs of life on defense, competing on that end better than he has for most of his career. That Young bought in to Walton’s system is already a positive sign for Golden State, considering Walton’s connection to Steve Kerr.
And the Warriors could use Young’s offense off the bench. Andre Iguodala’s shooting was shaky last season, and Pat McCaw doesn’t have the same verve to his game as Young. Swaggy P could take the place of Ian Clark, who played admirably in limited minutes for the Dubs, but also lacks the microwave potential of a player like Young.
For Young, the benefits are widespread. He can chase a ring on a team that will be heavy title favorites. He will benefit on the court with a plethora of open looks created by his Hall-of-Fame teammates. And if he signs a one-year, “prove it” deal, he can re-enter the market next season with a postseason glow and proof he can be an asset to a good team. Young is obviously still seen as a bit of a knucklehead in some corners of the basketball world, but playing for a team that’s title-or-bust tends to bring out the professional in everyone, even a fun-loving squad such as Golden State.
Ultimately, Young joining the Warriors makes sense for both sides. Golden State can take a chance with a low-risk, high-reward deal for a player who has always had considerable offensive talent. Young can shake off the notions that he’s only a chucker and prove he has value to a title contender, while potentially setting himself up for a bigger payday down the road. In an off-season filled with wild transactions, this one would actually be relatively tame.