Nick Doin' Work

Wizards Coach Flip Saunders was about to head up the steps at the conclusion of pre-draft workouts at Verizon Center on Tuesday, but he stopped to see Nick Young as Young worked on defensive drills with assistants Sam Cassell and Randy Wittman. After watching Cassell repeatedly drive left and get off his shot, Saunders stopped Young and showed him the proper body angle and where to place his feet so that Cassell wouldn't have an uncluttered lane to the basket.

"If you do this, he can't go here," Saunders told Young. Then Saunders slid his feet to force Cassell into a more difficult shot.


I want you to see more of me next season. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Young took note, and went back at Cassell. With Wittman shouting for Young to get a good seat (as in get low on his defense), Young kept sliding in front of Cassell and forced him into a series of tough jumpers. "That's it," Saunders said. "That's it."

Young has been hard at work trying to bounce back from a difficult sophomore campaign and impress a new coaching staff at the same time. In addition to taking defensive tips from Saunders, Young has also been working on getting shots off the ball. Young said Saunders has been putting him through some of the same shooting-off-screen drills that Richard Hamilton used in Detroit.

"Something I'm not used to, but it's working for me," Young said.

Young has been going back and forth between Los Angeles and Washington this summer. He played in the Drew Summer League in Los Angeles with pros such as Detroit's Amir Johnson, Boston's Gabe Pruitt, Minnesota's Bobby Brown, and even JaVale McGee.

Since he shipped all of his cars back home after the season, Young said that Gilbert Arenas has allowed him to borrow his "beat up" car from high school to drive back-and-forth to the arena for workouts. In return, Arenas has asked that Young provide transportation to the arena for workouts and drop him off at home. "It's been good," he said.

The workouts with Saunders and his staff have been helpful, Young said. After Saunders left, Cassell offered Young some pointers on how to get better separation from a defender in a pick and roll situation. Cassell showed Young how to lure a defender into a bad position and slide in front of him, with the defender's back to Young, to get an open jump shot.

"After you're done, you feel like you've accomplished something," Young said of his summer workouts. "I see good progress out there. It's a great feeling. You want to go take a nap" afterward.

Young said Cassell has already told him that he plans on working with Young when he goes to Los Angeles this summer. After an up-and-down individual season and a 19-63 campaign for the team, Young's purpose this offseason is obvious.

"It was a tough year," Young said. "I'm out here more. I ain't just sitting at home. I'm just showing them I'm trying to work harder, going back and forth, lifting more, trying to get bigger, a little bit. I just want to come back motivated, with a chip on my shoulder. I want to see more minutes."

Young has found a way to have some fun this summer, too. I stumbled across this video on AOL Fanhouse. Check out "The Wiz Kid." He was asked his choice about the Kobe-LeBron debate. "I'm going with Nick Young," said Young, who boasted that his goals are to win Sixth Man of the Year and Most Improved.


By Michael Lee |  June 17, 2009; 12:06 PM ET
Previous: Workout Wrapup (UPDATED) | Next: Hill Visiting D.C.

Comments

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Hey Mike,any news on the Wizards and who they might trade their 5th overall pick for.

Posted by: brandonjamal13 | June 17, 2009 12:18 PM

It's good to see that the coaching staff (Cassell and Wittman in particular) are working with NY on the fine points of the game. I never felt that Eddie or his assistants were good at teaching the young players some of the things they needed to do to improve. If Young actually listens to Flip and Cassell, the Wiz may actually see some improvement on both ends this year.

Does anyone else on this site think NY's new found work ethic has anything to do with the Wiz considering picking a guard at No. 5?

Posted by: wizfan89 | June 17, 2009 12:19 PM

That's a great post Mike!

And yes Wizfan89 - I think the draft has him motivated. But he says he wants to win 6th man of the year. Why would he say that unless he's been told, "Our starting 2 guard is ______"

Is he conceeding the starting gig to Dsteve, Mike James, or the #5? Who told him he's not starting, Flip or Gil?

Posted by: cballer | June 17, 2009 12:26 PM

im glad for nick. i really think he is going to have his breakout season next season.

And i think that nick said he was going to be sixth man of the year because he expects Dsteve to get the starting job now. but i think that by the middle of the season nickwill be starting

Posted by: BlackHibachi | June 17, 2009 12:41 PM

cballer - my guess is that NY figures Dsteve will be the starter if healthy and that he may be fighting for minutes if the Wiz pick any guard since that would mean Agent Zero playing same at 2. I think he's potentially the 4th guard in a 3-man rotation if the Wiz pick Curry or Harden.

Posted by: wizfan89 | June 17, 2009 12:41 PM

Good to hear. I've taken Young to task for not working hard enough in the past. Hope he keeps it up and it pays off.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 17, 2009 1:04 PM

It's a two-way street. This year both lanes are open for NY.

Let's see if Flip assigns someone to work with McGee and Blatche.

Posted by: Izman | June 17, 2009 1:14 PM

I really like NY...don't get all the BS on him as it concerns him.
Offensively he can create his shots, has a feel for the game and has a dynamic charisma, that is lacking in so many of his teammates...
Also consider the coaching, or lack of it, he has received since his arrival. Also the totally inconsistent court time, and one wonders if anyone could have improved under those circumstances.
I like him more than Dmac, and has so much upside.
We need a skilled big man to complement NY and GA...
Please rid of us MJ, ET, DS, OP and get some real legitimate complements on that bench.

Posted by: mricklen | June 17, 2009 1:16 PM

the boy should have goals to start...!!! thats where the problem lies.

no confidence in his game to be a starter..6th man award??? aim to win MVP. as KG says: nothing is impossible!!

but im glad to see he is putting forth an effort because i like nick young and i think he can be a bona-fide shooting guard as good as the wades and bryants...i wish him a healthy a season

Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | June 17, 2009 1:19 PM

Coaches actually working with the young players in the offseason? And coaches who teach defense? What novel ideas!

I cannot stress enough how big it is for this team to finally have NBA quality coaches. It seemed like previous regime's idea of developing young guys was whining about them to the media after losses. Not to mention their inability to implement anything resembling an effective defense. But we've upgraded from JV to Varsity and it's going to make all the difference.

P.S. - I can't wait to see all our guys get career highs against Philly this year! HAHAHAHA

Posted by: LyricalRico | June 17, 2009 1:25 PM

i hope someone is in his ear yelling, "stop f-ing fading on your jumper. you're never going to shoot a high percenetage if you f-ing fade on your jumper. Idiot!"

Seriously, Nick can and should be a good starting 2 in this league. So, it's great to see him working with his new coaches to improve his game.

I'm also excited that Sam Cassel is on the bench. Hopefully he can impart some of his heady play on this dimwitted roster.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | June 17, 2009 1:35 PM

zardsfan1

actually nick has a nice fadeaway and sam cassel isnt on the bench hes an assistance coach

Posted by: BlackHibachi | June 17, 2009 1:48 PM

Last I checked, assistant coaches sit on the bench.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 17, 2009 1:53 PM

Why did he ship his cars to the West Coast?

Is there something we don't know about?

Posted by: mabkhar | June 17, 2009 1:55 PM

Ernie, please don't draft a SG with the #5 pick. NY can and will get it done esp. with the guidance of Sam Cassell. As for the rest of the squad, has anyone heard the rumor of AJ for Ben Wallace and Pavlovic trade. If they can get Big Ben to retire and buy out Sasha, that's a win-win for the club. Let AB, McGee and Jordan Hill fight it out at the four w/ McGee splitting time at the 5. And if AB doesn't get it by midseason, dump his a** for some more salaries and be a player in the 2010 summer of love for F/A's...

Posted by: samisunc | June 17, 2009 2:02 PM

Mike, Great "INSIDER" post.

I could see NY being most improved if he gets to work and steps up his focus. I think the change of coaching will help. Just waiting to see what Ernie is gonna do with #5.
If he keeps it (which I think he will) then the Wizzies are gonna play up to the trade DL and see where they are and play what they got or then make a move.

Posted by: VBFan | June 17, 2009 2:07 PM

NY's hometown is LA and he won't be living in D.C. fulltime until late-October. For six months of having use of his expensive toys, I'm sure it was worth it to have them shipped. Unless the Wiz management have told him he's going to be traded (and that seems unlikely), I expect he'll keep going back and forth to L.A. It was mentioned that Cassel would be working with him in L.A. during the summer so it doesn't sound too suspicious.

Also, doesn't Agent Zero have to sign off on any trade of one of his guys? And NY is definitely one of them.

Posted by: wizfan89 | June 17, 2009 2:08 PM

Great post, thanks Michael.

It's interesting that Young is already assuming he will not be a starter (wants to be sixth man of the year). I don't think DeShawn Stevenson is necessarily guaranteed the starting 2 guard spot. Young's goal should not be 6th man of the year, but becoming a starter and earning the most improved player award.

Posted by: Barno1 | June 17, 2009 2:17 PM

It's very encouraging to see that the coaching staffs are spending time developing young players. Something apparently was not done previously (judged by the fact that Young hasn't learnt those tips in his two years here). Now we need a big men coach!

Posted by: sagaliba | June 17, 2009 2:19 PM

We want our 2-guard to be a complementary player to our three All-Stars. DeShawn fit the bill. Hit spot-up threes, make good passes to our three scorers, and defend the other team's best wing. That's not Nick's game. He's a scorer who looks to create his own shot- perfect for a sixth man role as the primary scorer on the second unit.

Posted by: yop32 | June 17, 2009 2:24 PM

I like it. I think nick has the potential to take the starting spot from DS or the no. 5 if they pick a 2 guard. now it sounds like he's gonna put some hard work behind all of that talent. This might be a good sign for the wiz youngins. any news on blatche?

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | June 17, 2009 2:25 PM

Please, please, please work on you ball handling skills too!

Would love to trade MJ, ET, #5 for Vince.

Posted by: photoassign | June 17, 2009 2:28 PM

i like evans at 5th pick, anybody down with that? it sounds like curry is movin up in the workouts he might be good too, or try to trade down to the knicks i hear they like curry .

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | June 17, 2009 2:29 PM

vince's best days are behind him NJ should at least swap us picks in the trade. vince is not amare

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | June 17, 2009 2:29 PM

I know that MJ and ET don't equal up to be vc's caliber of player, but the 5th pick and their pick allows them to get at least one potential starter maybe evans,harden,jennings,curry with the 5 and maybe taj gibson (usc) with the later pick to pair with devin harris , yi, and lopez plus the cap room the next year for lebron and a fairly young fairly experienced group of studs to go around him. We'll get Vince "I'm Just Playin Out My Contract" Carter

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | June 17, 2009 2:35 PM

Ben Wallace's best days are behind him. Why in the world would we trade any of our guys to Cleveland??? I don't see it happening. Nor do I see AJ moving. Why is AJ's name always in a trade category anyway? Every year, it is like trade Antawn Jamison. Dude plays his arse off and give his all every year. He played pretty much every game this year and there are a host of teams who love his services.

Posted by: ivyleague | June 17, 2009 2:52 PM

Would love to trade MJ, ET, #5 for Vince.

Posted by: photoassign | June 17, 2009 2:28 PM


wtf is the hype on vince.. hes like 93 years old.over-paid,overrated, imean seriously stop wit the Vince stuff...nick young is as good as vince now. he just needs playing time and some more grooming, im happy sam cassell is there to be on his a**...

and Andray Blatche if you mistakenly happen to read this blog..stop reading this and take your butt to the weight room. You should be benching your wieght before the summers end no excuses, you should develop a low post move your 6'11, get a BIG MAN's mentality like tim duncan. be around the rim, finish with dunks and yell afterward like a warewolf not those finesse gaurd like layups you look silly, block shots emphatically, scare people, stop handling the rock and take your butt downlow, commit your soul to the defensive end and you will be an allstar i promise, if not you will continue to hear about how the fans of DC want you traded, and after your contract is up, you will be filling out applications at quiznos.

GO WIZARDS PURE ENERGY!!!

Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | June 17, 2009 2:53 PM

Great to hear Nick is having a productive summer. I think he will do well this year and be a lot more productive. The Alien is going to shape him into a monster along with Coach so I am excited. Good times ahead, good times

http://www.wizardsextreme.com

Posted by: WizardsExtreme | June 17, 2009 2:54 PM

Any news on whether or not Pesh is making progress or even in the states? Hows the Blatche doing with conditioning?

I think we should draft Curry or Jordan Hill. Mike, how hard would we get hit if we just released ET or MJ? How many players do we have committed to contract going into next year? I think 13, with the draft it would go to 15. Dstev, hows his back? Finally, who's more likely to go, D Song, Dsteve, MJames, or E Thomas?

Posted by: Gooddad | June 17, 2009 2:55 PM

blackhibachi,
NY does have nice fadeaway, but he fades away on everything unless he's shooting a layup. It kills his consistency.

Also, I am well aware that Cassel is a coach. Assistant coaches sit on the bench, don't they?

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | June 17, 2009 2:58 PM

Why is AJ's name always in a trade category anyway? Every year, it is like trade Antawn Jamison.
Posted by: ivyleague | June 17, 2009 2:52 PM

He played pretty much every game this year and there are a host of teams who love his services.
Posted by: ivyleague | June 17, 2009 2:52 PM

I think that's why

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | June 17, 2009 3:01 PM

i wouldn't take ben wallace for jamison, but pavlovich and their pick for jamison and ET or MJ might work cleve does need cap space for bron.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | June 17, 2009 3:04 PM

"vince's best days are behind him NJ should at least swap us picks in the trade."

yup - draft Hansbrough @ 11 - UNC lovefest


"nick young is as good as vince now"

f'n nuts

Posted by: photoassign | June 17, 2009 3:06 PM

"nick young is as good as vince now"
Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | June 17, 2009 2:53 PM
i know where you're going with that so i'm not gonna trip too hard, but nick isn't as good as vc right now. there are no stats ar game films that support that. I would say that nick is better for the wiz than vc is right now. But if the wiz were a contender now i would take vc over nick all day.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | June 17, 2009 3:17 PM

zardsfan1 he really only does fadeaways on mid range jump shots
and when you said cassel on the bench i thought u thought he was on the bench as a player. my b

Posted by: BlackHibachi | June 17, 2009 3:18 PM

"he really only does fadeaways on mid range jump shots"

Which is the majority of the shots he takes (which is problem 1), and fading away on them makes them tougher shots to hit (which is problem 2).

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 17, 2009 3:30 PM

I seem to recall MJ making the fadeaway a staple in his arsenal as his career went on.

From personal experience, I always thought it made better sense to learn how to shoot the fadeaway when you were young and had hops so that when you got older and your legs started to go, you'd be able to get separation. When I played ball on the playground my buddies used to say the same thing.."STOP fading. Lean in on your shoot if anything."
Once we reached 30 and they kept getting their shot blocked in their hand, they stopped saying it.
Nick is a career 44% shooter. I say leave his shot alone. Better shots, yes. Different shooting style, nah.

Posted by: original_mark | June 17, 2009 3:31 PM

Side note:

I'm sure some obscure coach once told Elvin Hayes not to fade, too. E faded right into the Hall of Fame.

Posted by: original_mark | June 17, 2009 3:34 PM

"I seem to recall MJ making the fadeaway a staple in his arsenal as his career went on. "

"I'm sure some obscure coach once told Elvin Hayes not to fade, too. E faded right into the Hall of Fame."

Pointing out that Nick Young is not Michael Jordan or Elvin Hayes shouldn't really be necessary at this point, should it?

"Better shots, yes."

And in order to take better shots, he has to take fewer fadeaway jumpers, which currently constitute the majority of his shots.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 17, 2009 3:38 PM

"NY does have nice fadeaway, but he fades away on everything unless he's shooting a layup. It kills his consistency."

You'd think that if he does it on every shot, it actually promotes consistency, wouldn't you?

Posted by: psps23 | June 17, 2009 3:54 PM

ok maybe ny being better than vc is a hyperbole to say the least, but again its like trading an 07 toyota camry and an 09 nissan sentra for an 89 bmw...would you make that trade if you had the camry and sentra...doesnt make sense

and people need to stop thinking atlanta is going to trade joe johnson..are yall insane?

Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | June 17, 2009 4:00 PM

I have no problem with NY taking his 1v1 jumpers with a fadeaway. But he needs to diversify his abilities to more than a 1v1 game. I like the fact that he's working on playing off the ball and taking shots running off screens. That, I think, is his biggest obstacle to seeing big time minutes with this team. More so than his defensive shortcomings.

Posted by: psps23 | June 17, 2009 4:00 PM

what about the dominance psps?

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | June 17, 2009 4:01 PM

The thing I can't grasp is why Nick is so fond of the fadeaway in the first place. It's not as if he needs it to score.

Here are his workout numbers coming out of college:

Height (in shoes): 6’6 ¾”
Weight 206
Wingspan: 7’
Standing reach: 8’4 1/2”
No Step vertical: 39.5
Max vertical: 40.5
Lane Agility: 11.0
Three quarters court Sprint: 3.5

The guy's taller than the top guards in this year's class. He has outstanding wingspan, above average reach, and good agility and sprint numbers. Most remarkably, the guy's a human pogo stick.
At his height, and with that sort of no-step jumping ability, who's going to block his shot? Unless he stands directly in front of Dwight Howard, I mean. You talk about Jonny Flynn's jumping ability; Jonny is seven inches shorter, needs a run-up, and still finishes half an inch short of Nick Young.

But if you look at his pre-draft workouts, there he is, shooting fadeaway after fadeaway, as if he were a 6/4" CAA shooting guard.

It's like he suffered a psychological trauma and can't feel confident in his own shot unless he's toppling over backwards.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 17, 2009 4:11 PM

"what about the dominance psps?

Posted by: lilhollywood10"

Posted it on the last thread, but here's a re-post:

"Hey, I never said he was perfect. But he did post a 16 point, 20 rebound, 9 block game -- and they still lost. I can't remember the last time I saw a performance like that in a Finals game. Unfortunately, LA was just too talented.

Posted by: psps23 | June 17, 2009 3:43 PM "

Posted by: psps23 | June 17, 2009 4:14 PM

NY can learn a lot from Cassell who made a living as a 6 3" PG who loved to post up (and didn't need to resort to a fadeway). For NY to become more than a one trick pony, he needs to be able to hit a midrange shot off the dribble, take the ball to the basket with authority, and hit the open 3's that teams give him every night. For a guy who has has his skills, height, and leaping ability, he's been a big disapointment IMO.

This year you can't blame it on the coaching staff when NY has Cassell and Wittman working with him individually.

Posted by: wizfan89 | June 17, 2009 4:27 PM

Regarding the Big E, his coach in Houston traded him to the Bullets partly because he wasn't a traditional bigman. The fadeaway was only part of his arsenal as he had a nice straight up jump shot out to 18 feet and could score on power moves. He resorted to the turnaround as his main shot later in his career because no one could block it and he was often covered by a taller opponent since Wes Unseld was not an offensive threat....the Big E is in the HOF because he had a complete game that included rebounding, blocked shots, and scoring.

Posted by: wizfan89 | June 17, 2009 4:38 PM

Samson151 is right. NY should need a minimum amount of space to get his jump shot off b/c he has the length and leaping ability to rise up above anyone defending him.

Posted by: ZardsFan1 | June 17, 2009 4:43 PM

Mike,

Great blog, long time reader, first time comment.

Any response to the recent Draftexpress report that has the Cavs and Wiz talking about a deal concerning Jamison?

Posted by: maxer18 | June 17, 2009 5:28 PM

After watching Cassell repeatedly drive left and get off his shot, Saunders stopped Young and showed him the proper body angle and where to place his feet so that Cassell wouldn't have an uncluttered lane to the basket.

Flip you are going to confuse the kid, Gil taught him everything he knows about how to play "D".

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | June 17, 2009 5:29 PM

OK, lets say St. Nick at least comes close to winning the sixth man award in this, his contract year (clearing throat). What's he worth? What should his next contract average per year? How many years?

I was glad to see him play improved D at the end of the year.

Sometimes I wonder if the smile (Orlando) factor comes into play with the perception of Nick. Of course, he has a whiney face too (usually while the other team is fast breaking away from him).

Posted by: photoassign | June 17, 2009 5:36 PM

I think NY will be a better player next year, but whether he will finally cross the line and be a solid two guard for the Wiz, instead of a guy who just has a tremendous upside, remains to be seen.

Until we're sure, I still think the Wiz need to get a guy who can shoot threes off the bench and score before the season begins.

Posted by: cannontl | June 17, 2009 5:38 PM

Get Mike James and D. Stevenson out of here, please!!

Posted by: john24 | June 17, 2009 5:52 PM

What was the previous coaching staff doing w/ the young players in the offseason, playing backgammon? I might be out of line, but I just kind of assumed that these guys making millions are actually working on basketball fundamentals on occasion...

Posted by: randysbailin | June 17, 2009 7:11 PM

Good to read/hear about N. Young. I was glad that we were lucky enough to get him a few years back since we didnt expect him to fall that far.

Posted by: washwiz | June 17, 2009 7:31 PM

Nick Young is working on his defense, and getting good advice - that's tremendous news. I expect that he'll become the starting SG this season, and he'll hold onto it.

Seemed like Nick was a story of extremes this past season. When he wasn't going off for 20+ points, he was getting frustrated by defenses and making bad decisions when the play broke down. When someone has that much talent though, there's always the possibility that a switch will be flipped, and the problem corrected.. and then, look out.

As they say, you can't teach talent.. but maybe Cassell can impart some of the other things. I'm excited for NY, it's gonna be a career year for him.

Posted by: satchmore | June 17, 2009 8:12 PM

What the F@#K did the previous coaching staffs did all that time? I am reading that Nick Young is finally learning how to play defense? This makes me so mad that they keep blaming the players for not learning defense when all they really wanted was good "advice" or "instructions" from proven winners. I feel good about this coaching staff, especially Cassell and Whittman. I think the Wizards will surprise a lot of people this season.

Posted by: JohnWWW | June 17, 2009 9:09 PM

i love sam cassell as a coach. Nothing like a coach who can put the ball on the floor.

I liked that nick young has aspirations of 6th man. While I would like to see him do well enough to earn starter, i like it because it shows a degree of realism and humility. Like if you come out to the media with outlandish goals, you're just running your mouth. these goals are just difficult enough but realistic enough to make me believe he just might be serious this time.

Posted by: crs-one | June 17, 2009 10:53 PM

Like I said A couple weeks ago. Eddie Jordan was overrated and this article on Nick Young is all the proof you should need. Hopefully Flip has someone working with Blatche and McGee, especially on their low post moves. This alone will make us a much better team.

Posted by: DC-fan | June 17, 2009 11:06 PM

P.S. I know a lot of you have given up on Blatche, but I'm tellin you guys all he needs is the right coach to work with him. With all of the talent he has he should be our starting power forward by now.

Posted by: DC-fan | June 17, 2009 11:18 PM

I don't understand giving up on Blatche. He is still really young and bigs usually take longer to develop (especially when they have floated between 3 positions there whole career). Hes extremely cheap. Hes probably earned his contract last year according to his numbers. I'm just fine with holding on to Blatche.

Posted by: AWizinLA | June 17, 2009 11:51 PM

the only thing flip told him was stop trailing and riding the offensive player's hip, and take the angle from the offensive player by getting part of your body ahead of the offensive player.

Sam Cassell and Randy Whitman told him that while working the drill. The drill was not for Sam to score on him non stop. Eddie Jordan's staff told him that. Tim Floyd's staff told him that. he would get that if he ever played defense in his life.

NY is not a thinker. he's still playing purely off athletic ability. his basket IQ is not high enough for him to have basic NBA instincts. I don't want to call him slow, but he obviously cannot play his game when he has to be a thinker versus a free lance wild card.

Posted by: oknow1 | June 18, 2009 12:00 AM

"NY is not a thinker. he's still playing purely off athletic ability. his basket IQ is not high enough for him to have basic NBA instincts. I don't want to call him slow, but he obviously cannot play his game when he has to be a thinker versus a free lance wild card."
Posted by: oknow1 | June 18, 2009 12:00 AM

Exactly. Go back and read some of the draft profiles on him coming out of college. The common theme in most of theme is praise for his physical tools and doubts about his mental focus. He plays entirely with his body and not with his head. Guys like that can have decent NBA careers as backups and role players, but any player who becomes more than that has to be able to think the game in a way that Young has shown no inclination to do.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 18, 2009 12:16 AM

Thinking the game is not a strength of the typical 2-guard. If they had that ability, they would have been steered towards playing the point. Instead of thinking the game, most 2-guards operate on feel developed from sheer repetition in games and especially in practice.

Nick was not considered a top level talent until late in his amateur career. He is a self-made player who has not had the benefit of years and years of intensive high level coaching. It has taken longer than we might have hoped, but compared to where he was when he first got here, he has shown huge improvement. Give him time.

Posted by: yop32 | June 18, 2009 7:19 AM

Fantastic post!

Posted by: SteveBuckhantz | June 18, 2009 7:36 AM

Nick fading away has nothing to do with his consistency. He has a knack for that just like other players have different knacks for scoring. It is unexplainable. People might wish they had the knack for shooting dipsy-do shots off the wrong foot like Jamison does, most don't have that knack. It's a skill, a gift.

Nick's inconsistency has more to do with his mental than his skill.

Posted by: G-Man11 | June 18, 2009 7:58 AM

"Thinking the game is not a strength of the typical 2-guard. If they had that ability, they would have been steered towards playing the point. Instead of thinking the game, most 2-guards operate on feel developed from sheer repetition in games and especially in practice."

So Michael Jordan didn't think the game? Joe Dumars? Kobe Bryant? Jerry West? Reggie Miller? Dwayne Wade? Ray Allen? Manu Ginobili?

What a load of utter crap.

Every great player at every position excels at the game both mentally and physically. To suggest otherwise is pure, unadulterated nonsense. To suggest that basketball IQ is the sole provence of players at only one position demonstrates an obvious and pretty complete lack basic knowledge of the game.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 18, 2009 8:40 AM

Going with the Minnie theme, what are the chances we can use those connections to get Mchale here to work with our big men?

Posted by: rchorsch | June 18, 2009 9:11 AM

Those guys aren't typical.

Yes, ideally, you'd have both the physical tools and a great basketball mind. But Nick can go pretty far with great tools and just a mediocre head on his shoulders. As long as he's not a complete moron and has the work ethic to develop a feel for the game, he'll be fine.


"Most players are like golfers. You don’t want them swinging while they’re thinking."

-Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets' GM, in "The No Stats All-Star", an article in the NY Times Magazine on Shane Battier by Michael Lewis from 2/13/2009.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15/magazine/15Battier-t.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=shane%20battier&st=cse

Posted by: yop32 | June 18, 2009 9:17 AM

"Those guys aren't typical. "

So basically, you're using "typical" as a euphemism for "mediocre." In which case, yeah, mediocre players don't think the game. That's why they're mediocre.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 18, 2009 10:12 AM

Come draft night, Ernie will make a blockbuster deal. Watch out. You won't know the Wiz after draft night.

Posted by: gman1030 | June 18, 2009 10:40 AM

"Thinking the game is not a strength of the typical 2-guard. If they had that ability, they would have been steered towards playing the point. Instead of thinking the game, most 2-guards operate on feel developed from sheer repetition in games and especially in practice."

So Michael Jordan didn't think the game? Joe Dumars? Kobe Bryant? Jerry West? Reggie Miller? Dwayne Wade? Ray Allen? Manu Ginobili?

What a load of utter crap.


well i have to agree and disagree. I played shooting gaurd in high school and college. One thing coaches emphasize is that the game is much more than just physical, hence the reason why there are plays,defensive schemes, scouting reports etc... coaches also tell you(especially when you make a mistake) not to worry about that play, dont do too much thinking and get in the game play your game and let it come to you.with that being said. the players that you mentioned above have/had great coaches, that teach them those concepts of basketball. it doesnt naturally come to everyone. Nick young came to a veteran team. all those players mentioned above came to teams where they had to come in and fill shoes immediatley, where as nick young just came in to a veteran situation. those players have learned to balance both the physical and mental aspect of the game. because as time goes on any ball player would know that thier skills tend to decline after a few years, and if they want to keep thier job or be great, they have to learn the mental part of the game to be successful. Right now nick young is learning the game more and he has to fill in roles there are no more excuses. i think he will blossom into a superstar. He just needs the right type of coaching like hes getting now and the right situation to exploit his talents and grow. Some folks are faster learners than others so it may take a while.eventually he will understand the game of basketball a bit better on the professional level.

With hard work, dedication, practice, effort, consistent minutes and good coaching nick young will bud into a star playing along side arenas. he wont have to worry about getting yanked after commiting a cheap foul or turning the ball over(like the coaches taught us to forget)he will instead focus on the X's and O's of the game.. it will just take time.

Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | June 18, 2009 11:48 AM

I was at the Wizards "Meet the Coach" event last evening and coach Saunders said that he was very impressed with Andray Blatche and Nick Young and that neither of them was going anywhere else. He sees both of them playing key roles for the Wizards next season.

Posted by: getabigboyoffense | June 18, 2009 11:50 AM

Coach Saunders said that he was so impressed with Andray Blatche that he asked the staff if 'Dary had been trick'n everyone up to now.

He liked the idea of Slick at the 2-spot because most opposition 2's could not matchup with someone 6'6".

Posted by: getabigboyoffense | June 18, 2009 11:54 AM

Blatche's big problem is that he commits a lot of touch fouls and often has to sit down. If Flip works with him this summer, maybe he can overcome that tendency. When he can stay in the game, he gives you a lot. He's got a nice assortment of moves around the basket, he can hit the outside j, and he's an excellent passer for a big man.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | June 18, 2009 2:05 PM

Interesting comments on the mental part of the game, something that isn't often discussed. You always here about the player's jumping ability or his quickness or his height, seldom on his basketball IQ. Listen to the great players (MJ, Kobe, DWade, Garnett, Lebron, etc.) talk about the game and it's obvious that there's a huge difference between the ears between them and the average (i.e. Nick Young) and the stars...

Posted by: randysbailin | June 18, 2009 3:12 PM

This whole article is really encouraging. I've loved Nick Young since we got him, and if he can polish his game he could be a real force. I don't think he's setting his sights too low; as another poster said, he could be the perfect sixth man: a dangerous scorer who provides instant energy off the bench. Hopefully these are just unfounded rumors, but any trade talk involving him or McGee really bothers me. These were non-lottery picks who came in with little pressure or hype. So far they have both shown great potential, and (even better) have no signs of being busts (i.e. OP). Gil, AJ, Caron, BH, (#5/veteran), with DS, Young and McGee off the bench... these kids don't have to be superstars, just solid role players and you have a very nice 8-man (playoff) rotation.

Posted by: BambaleOsbysAfro | June 18, 2009 3:57 PM

Nice video - Nick Young is really cool and seems like a fun person also.

Posted by: washwiz | June 18, 2009 6:26 PM

I think Nick should be a 6th man as long as Butler or Jamison don't get traded. His scoring punch off the bench would be much more effective, or should I say Stevenson's lack of scoring punch is hidden much better when he is on the floor with Gil, Caron, and Antawn.

Posted by: wisdom80 | June 19, 2009 9:37 AM

NY is a late first round pick and is playing out his career thus far in that fashion. It's always the "little things" that separate the good from the very good. I like the defensive focus and tips from coaching staff. I like the focus on him varying his game with spot up shots.

Flip is a coach! A NBA top tier coach. Not the good guy mediocre coaching we got from EJ and completely one sided at that. Not to totally dis the guy, but I think Wiz fans are so used to below average coaching historically that when we got an average to maybe a hair better than average coach, we rejoiced prematurely.

BTW, been on Young's constant fading on his shot since he came into the league. But, I think he has much more pressing issues in his game. Yeah, his shooting percentage is fairly decent, but perhaps it could be even better without the fading, no?

Posted by: rphilli721 | June 21, 2009 5:17 PM

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