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Young Keeps Rolling

When Nick Young came out of the locker room this afternoon to meet with reporters after practice, I jokingly stepped away from him. "I'm not touching you man. Don't want to get burned."

"LA Smooth" is on quite a roll, no doubt. In the last four games he's knocked down 43 of 60 shots, averaged 25.8 points and posted a career-high three times. In last night's AAU game against the Knicks, Young was all for the wide open style and dropped 33 points on 13-of-17 shooting.

Young credits shooting games with Gilbert Arenas and watching himself on tape in past games for the recent run. Whatever it is, he should keep it rolling.

However, teams are going to starting keying on him and he's going to have to be ready.

"That's ok," Young said. "The more CB (Caron Butler) and Antawn get going, the better. That way I can just sneak in through the back door."

By the way, Young said former NBA player Steve Smith has dubbed him "Herky Jerk."

By Ivan Carter  |  January 15, 2009; 3:11 PM ET
 
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Next: Looking Forward to Rematch?

Comments

Nick Young is providing sunshine in a cloud season!

Posted by: Dave381 | January 15, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Is this what the season has been reduced too? Watching "Herky Jerk"/La Smooth"AKA Nick Young put up numbers against inferior opponents i'm sure EG likes this it takes some of the heat off of him but as Lee Corso would say "not so fast my friend".

Posted by: dargregmag | January 15, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Yes, thats what this season is reduced to. at least DeShawn will hopefully be uprooted by Young for the starting 2.

Posted by: BurgwithaU | January 15, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Ain't no sunshine when Gil's gone
It's not warm when he's away
Ain't no sunshine when Gil's gone
And he always gone too long
anytime he's gone away.

Wonder this time where he's gone,
wonder if he's gone to stay

etc. etc. etc.

..just a joke, folks.

Posted by: original_mark | January 15, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Young credits shooting games with Gilbert Arenas...

Funny this is what we all talked about when we were discussing leadership last year. I argued that this was one way that Gil showed leadership and I was pooh poohed.

Free Pech. Free Nick Young.

Posted by: original_mark | January 15, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I'll have a Carribean Herky Jerk Bean Burrito please.

Posted by: LooseCannon1 | January 15, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

"Being able to do what I do and getting the green light out there, that means a lot to me," Young said. "But even though I was playing well, at the end of the day, we're losing, so that hurts. It comes to that last five minutes in the fourth quarter and we always come up short. It's starting to take a toll on us a little bit."

Very worrying words. And in fact my biggest concern, that young developing players playing prominent roles on losing teams may be negatively impacted. And more importantly that this negative impact may carry forward, even to next season.

We can only hope that AJ and CB's leadership on and off the court can offset that.

Posted by: jones-y | January 15, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

From Hollinger's chat...

Ben (VA): What are your thoughts on Nick Young? Sure, the Wizards are horrible, but he's been putting up some nice numbers recently.

SportsNation John Hollinger: (3:30 PM ET ) He's been going bananas scoring, but he's still totally one-dimensional -- in his last four games he has 103 points and five assists. Dude needs to round out his game a little, otherwise he's just a less efficient, jump-shooting version of Corey Maggette.

Posted by: original_mark | January 15, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"Very worrying words. And in fact my biggest concern, that young developing players playing prominent roles on losing teams may be negatively impacted. And more importantly that this negative impact may carry forward, even to next season."

???what??? Yeah, pretty sure leaving all the young guys on the bench during this crappy losing season is how you can positively impact their development. Because letting guys play and get confidence is a horrible idea.

NEXT

Posted by: LooseCannon1 | January 15, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

NEXT

Posted by: LooseCannon1 | January 15, 2009 4:33 PM

Bitter, are we? No worries my friend. It wasn't personal.

'gain confidence' is exactly my point. Confidence in their ability to win games? That's the only type of confidence that matters. Having confidence that they can put the ball thru the hoop in the NBA doesn't get your team very far.

Posted by: jones-y | January 15, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

If I were nick I'd sure feel slighted for having had to endure deshawn's minutes earlier this year. it is time caron goes back to small forward because nick needs to be in the lineup and caron is obviously more comfortable at the three. Jamison is a bench player on any good team, his defense is simply killing us logging 40 minutes a night at pf, and compounding that is the fact that only 10-15 minutes of aj's 40 come next to an actual center, javale, to help erase his mistakes. We need blatche at the four in a bad way, let he and javale get serious time on the floor together and finally slow down with caron and aj. they're getting huge minutes, both top ten in the league, and should be given some more rest. songaila and jamison should never play center again and certainly never at the most important time, the 4th quarter, where they always get time and where we are coincidentally awful.Down the stretch we need at least blatche to be out there if not javale. blatche has got to play half his minutes at the four next to javale. Pech should be given some of song's time, we know darius' game and it is what it is, offense +, defense big -, we should figure out pech's ability, he's at least taller and sure to be a little better of an athlete than song. Song's offensive value is lost on our squad because he is lost, playing out of position, the same can be said for blatche and jamison. Blatche is a clear four, with high skill set, not a 5, or a banger, but is long enough to be a real factor on the interior, if played alongside javale. say what you will about him being soft, but not many bigs finish the plays he makes around the tin. even if he doesn't make some of the brutish plays they make, his game is a drastic improvement over either jamison or song at the four. And jamison, well where should he play? you either have the small forward position kill you defensively or the power forward position kill you defensively? to me it makes much more sense for him to be at least splitting time at small and power,the further away from the rim he gets the better off we are defensively, he simply kills your presence near the rim by playing so much pf, especially alongside a 4 posing as a 5 for most of the game.

Posted by: bford1kb | January 15, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

by now a couple people have suggested that moving Caron to the two has hurt his game.

while i can obviously see his slump coincide with his shift, why is this more than a coincidence? Why is it that he can't do at the 2 against smaller guys what he was able to do at the 3? I never thought quickness was an issue for Caron.

any theories?

Posted by: crs-one | January 15, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Nick Young can play.

Who knew?

Who else can play?

Pech?
Javale?
Critt?
Juan?
We won't find out til they get some time on the floor.

Is there another Nick hidden there?????

Posted by: VBFan | January 15, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse


Playing SG has Butler playing further out on the floor on both ends. Offensively, even though he's a natural SF, he's an undersized one, which means he lacks any real height advantage against most SGs. He can't just shoot over the top against 2s the way a bigger SF, like Prince or Turkoglu can. On the flip side, he's also not quick enough to beat a lot of starting SGs off the dribble, which often reduces him to trying to shake free with head and dribble fakes 20 feet from the basket and launching contested jumpers.

One way he might get some easier looks is to put him in the post and have him muscle in against less physical 2s but, for some reason, it doesn't appear that Tapscott is interested in running many plays for him in the post.

When Stevenson was in, he was the one stationed out by the 3 pt line and Butler was playing closer to the rim, which gave him more options. They can't really do that with McGuire because he isn't a shooter and he needs to be closer to the basket to have any effect offensively and to rebound. So, in order to space the floor, Caron gets pushed further out.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 15, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely on target. Thanks.

------------------------
Playing SG has Butler playing further out on the floor on both ends. Offensively, even though he's a natural SF, he's an undersized one, which means he lacks any real height advantage against most SGs. He can't just shoot over the top against 2s the way a bigger SF, like Prince or Turkoglu can. On the flip side, he's also not quick enough to beat a lot of starting SGs off the dribble, which often reduces him to trying to shake free with head and dribble fakes 20 feet from the basket and launching contested jumpers.

One way he might get some easier looks is to put him in the post and have him muscle in against less physical 2s but, for some reason, it doesn't appear that Tapscott is interested in running many plays for him in the post.

When Stevenson was in, he was the one stationed out by the 3 pt line and Butler was playing closer to the rim, which gave him more options. They can't really do that with McGuire because he isn't a shooter and he needs to be closer to the basket to have any effect offensively and to rebound. So, in order to space the floor, Caron gets pushed further out.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 15, 2009 6:56 PM

Posted by: dabnjab | January 15, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Ok, so Caron at 2 isn't working... which alot of us called for, and alot of us criticized Eddie Jordan for not playing him there.

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 15, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, New York is going off and I donot see him regressing.

Its almost like he all of sudden is playing to a different drummer than before.

I do believe his play now is coming from within. I think the whole Team should take his cue. It is like he has decided to play well in spite of anything or anyone else.

Keep it up Nick Young.

LarryInClintonMD.

Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | January 15, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Did we sign a gay porn star to a 10-day contract? What the hells with this LA Smooth kid who does the herky jerk

Posted by: emmet1 | January 15, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

McGee, Blatche, McGuire, Young, Crittenton


This unit needs to be on the court as much as possible.


James, Dixon, Stevenson, Butler, Jamison, Songaila, Thomas ... It's time to take a back seat.

The vets should still play and start, but those 5 all need to be playing at least 25 min a game ... and should be on the court together as much as possible.

Posted by: Darnell1 | January 15, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Do you think the Knicks would go for a trade of Brendan Haywood & Andray Blatche for David Lee ? Maybe even throw in Pech if they are reluctant.

Posted by: dspinx | January 15, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Darnell

'McGee, Blatche, McGuire, Young, Crittenton

This unit needs to be on the court as much as possible.'

While I agree this unit need to play much more, I also think they should continue come off the bench because that what they will be doing next year (With the exceptional of McGee if he somehow put on 50 pounds before the fall).

From ESPN - Rick Rubio update:

While there are legitimate questions about Rubio's draft eligibility this year -- he has a large buyout with his team, DKV Joventut -- I'm told he will likely declare for the draft and come to the NBA as long as he's a top-three pick. Given the need for point guards at the top of the draft, that seems like a safe bet.

Posted by: demonj21 | January 15, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Ivan, speaking of Gilby, can you check with him to see how his 1.5 mil pool, errrrr, skating rink is doing in this warm DC weather?

I wonder if he pimped out his Zamboni.....

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 15, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

"Ok, so Caron at 2 isn't working... which alot of us called for, and alot of us criticized Eddie Jordan for not playing him there.

Posted by: Darnell1"

Caron at the 2 is not all said and done. He's not working now for certain reasons, but it's not that he can't work. Even as Kal said, for some reason, Tapscott seems reluctant to stick Caron in the post against his smaller SG counterparts. Just as you wouldn't want to see Andray Blatche playing center with his back to the basket backing down a bigger opponent, you don't want to see Caron stuck out on the perimeter trying to break down a smaller, quicker opponent. That's not where the mismatches are in our favor. Caron isn't working at the 2 because Tapscott isn't adjusting the offense to take advantage of Caron's size mismatch.

Posted by: psps23 | January 15, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

"Young credits shooting games with Gilbert Arenas...

Funny this is what we all talked about when we were discussing leadership last year. I argued that this was one way that Gil showed leadership and I was pooh poohed.

Free Pech. Free Nick Young.

Posted by: original_mark | January 15, 2009 3:56 PM "

Huh?

Nick Young was known as a scorer coming out of USC. Nothing has changed.

If you recall his video in HS, it was his coach berating him for being selfish and about not shooting so much and working on the team aspect of the game.

If he's been getting advice from Gilby, it's probably Gilby telling him to "f#ck your coach....look at me....I'm getting paid 171 mil to put the ball in the basket....point blank."

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 15, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

psps23, you're much overstating Butler's size advantage at SF. He's really not that big. There are some SGs that he does have a strength advantage against, and in those particular matchups he might have an opportunity in the post, but he can't just back in at will against starting caliber 2 guards. Could more plays be run for him there? Sure, as long as the matchup is right. But it's not the cure to all of his ills.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 15, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

at this point it is just necessary for young to start and caron moving back to the three just makes sense

Posted by: bford1kb | January 15, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

"at this point it is just necessary for young to start and caron moving back to the three just makes sense

Posted by: bford1kb | January 15, 2009 11:39
PM "

Gosh...

EG resigning MeShawn for 14 mil looks smarter every day.

EG resigning ET for 36 mil looks smarter every day.

EG resigning Gilby for 127 mil looks smarter every day.

EG resigning MeTawn for 50 mil looks smarter every day.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 15, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Kal - I think you meant to say I'm overstating Butler's size advantage at SG.

And I don't think I am. Even with a bigger SG like Kobe Bryant, Butler has a 1-inch and 20+ lb advantage over him.

Kobe - 6'6, 205 lbs
Caron - 6'7, 228 lbs

That's a significant size advantage, especially in the post. And Kobe is one of the larger SGs in the league.

Of all the starting SGs in the East, the only one that has a size advantage over Butler is Joe Johnson (6'7, 240). The only other ones that are comparable are Jason Kapono (6'8, 215), Quentin Richardson (6'6, 235 lbs), and Vince Carter (6'6, 220 lbs). Every other starting SG in the east, Butler either has a height advantage, weight/strength advantage, or both (most of the times both).

I agree that it's not the source of all his ills, but it is significant. Part of the reason Butler is struggling is because he's been a little banged up (although that's nothing new to Butler). And the other significant part is that Butler is just plain unmotivated/unfocused. The season's flow has taken a toll on him. Several of the past games I've seen him miss several clear opportunities for putbacks, inside layups, and 2nd chance points. Those missed opportunities had nothing to do with what position Butler was playing. He's not playing with the same aggression that we've seen in years past.

I don't think the Butler experiment at SG should be scrapped. He won't be a full-time SG with this team with Nick Young here anyway, and Butler has more than enough ability to create mismatches at the 2 during certain stretches of the game. In fact, a lot of his recent struggles have come with Butler playing a good number of minutes at the 3 while Young got a bulk of the minutes at the 2. I don't think Butler's move to the 2 is the true reason behind his struggles lately.

Posted by: psps23 | January 16, 2009 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Butler has never used his size to his advantage in the pros. He was a slasher type at CT and was heavier but since he's been a pro, he's changed his game a bit.

I don't agree that it's the offense that's keeping him outide. He gets a lot of isos and if he wanted to, he could back his man down or post up and demand the ball. It's him, not the offense. He doesn't want to go down low. If he did, he'd do it. People ask for the ball where they feel comfortable.
I was one of the main guys since last year who was begging EJ to move CB to the 2. Mainly it was to get DS out of the lineup but the size advantage made sense to me, too. I thought CB would be able to draw fouls and muscle smaller guards. CB's game has evolved into..couple of dribbles, head fakes and pull up jumpers. He's Allan Houston without the range. He's still effective but definitely one dimensional.
Is it possible he's still hurt? His points, rebounds, assists, fg%, 3 point%, ft% and steals are all down from last year. His turnovers are up. Something isn't right. It's not like BTH's absence alone should affect him this much.

Posted by: original_mark | January 16, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

In any case, time to put him back at the 3 and start NY at the 2. If we do that, we should be able to get by with more pt for Critt (who is not a scoring threat).

This moves Mike James to the bench to do what he does best when he comes in...shoot.

Posted by: original_mark | January 16, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Positions positions positions.
I see placing Jamison in the position where he will be a better defender to be a crucial consideration in lineup decisions. If Butlers move to SG frees up the SF position for Jamison and if he's better able to defend SFs than PFs then thats a huge plus, because as wonderful as Jamison is we aren't going deep in playoffs without a starting PF who can play at least mediocre defense.

The problems from such a move would be if Butler's game fits being a SG, less playing time for Nick Young, and Blatche/Songaila/Thomas holding the PF position.
So we are choosing between Arenas/Young/Butler/Jamison/Haywood's offensive power or Arenas/Butler/Jamison/Blatche/Haywood's defensive power. One lineup starts Nick Young, the other starts Andray Blatche.
If his current level of play holds, it would pain me to see Nick Young not start.

Posted by: emmet1 | January 16, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Tough Juice, Bulletproof, Agent Zero, we have a history of awesome nicknames. Say no to LA Smooth

Posted by: emmet1 | January 16, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Without Arenas the Wiz's offensive firepower has suffered badly. Moving Young into the starting lineup at the two and putting Butler back at the 3 would be one way to remedy that in the short term.

The other move I'd suggest in the short term would be to move Crittenton into the starting point guard role. That would resolve two issues, Critt is the only real point on the roster right now. With Young, Butler and Jamison in the starting lineup the Wiz could do without James's shooting in the starting unit.

Critt is also the best on the ball defender we have. His long arms and quickness help on defense. Moving James and McGuire to the second unit would give the second unit a veteran scorer and a defensive hawk and high energy rebounder. Those kind of players often thrive in reserve roles.

I'd consider one other lineup change. I'd stick McGee back in the lineup at starting center. With the other guys in that starting five his ability to run the floor and cause mismatches could help get the offense rolling a little.

I know he's still getting pushed around inside. But I see improvements in his positioning and footwork. Guys on here are always talking about weight and muscle, but alot of inside play is about footwork, positioning, and leverage. All of those things seem to be progressing in McGee's game.

That would give the Wiz a second 5 that are a little more experienced and balanced. Blatche, Songaila, McGuire, James and Dixon.

The change is no slap agianst Blatche, he's just playing too many minutes out of position at center. I'd just love to see Tapps give McGee another run with the starters after he's had some time to watch and practice after his initial run.

Will the lineup change win a lot more games? Nope. But it's putting guys in postion to get experience where they will be playing once the team is healthy.

With Haywood back Blatche isn't a center, giving McGee heavy minutes at center might get Wally Pipp(Brendan) thinking about fast healing. And Blatche can start battling Songaila for time behind Jamison. In a perfect world he earns starters minutes at the 4 and Jamison becomes the Robert Horry of the Wizards eventually.

Critt, is a near perfect fit to pair with Arenas at guard, Young then would slide to becoming that instant offense guy off the bench once Gil works his way into the starting lineup again.

The fire Ernie guys have ignored that Grunfeld manged to pickup a starting guard to pair with Gil for a draft pick they were probably never going to see anyway.
The guy's a jump shot away from being a very solid NBA gaurd. Not a bad move Ernie...

Posted by: flohrtv | January 16, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Interesting article on si.com/nba about the Nets that included this tid-bit:

"[Coach] Frank's best idea was to replace the last remnants of the Princeton offense with dribble-drive options that would liberate [Devin] Harris to score."

This is what Young needs, and I hope he's getting. This team's players don't have the fundamentals or basketball IQ to run a Princeton office.

Posted by: jweber1 | January 16, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

To say that these players don't have the fundamental's or IQ to run the Princeton is ridiculous they ran it for years under EJ and were very good at it, Nick Young is doing well because teams still focus on Caron and Antwan and Young has basically flown under the radar as the season moves along let's see what happens when opponent's start to pay more attention to "LA Smooth".

Posted by: dargregmag | January 16, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

The fire Ernie guys have ignored that Grunfeld manged to pickup a starting guard to pair with Gil for a draft pick they were probably never going to see anyway.

Posted by: flohrtv | January 16, 2009 10:32 AM

they've ignored everything else he done well in his time here also...

Posted by: jones-y | January 16, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Ernie Grunfeld is a solid GM who can get the Wizards where we all want them to go. Never forget about this season that we've had some extraordinarily bad luck regarding injuries.

Posted by: 7snider7 | January 16, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

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