The league has always had room for shooters like Nick Young but the 6-foot-7 shooting guard hasn’t found a home yet for the 2018-19 NBA season. Despite winning his first championship with the Golden Sate Warriors last season and being a solid contributor to the team’s title run, he has only received passing interest from teams over the summer.
Young is a proven scorer at 11.4 points per game for his career and he shoots 37.6 percent from three-point range. A team that is looking for a consistent bench scorer and shooter should take a look at the 11-year veteran. There are a number of good teams that definitely need Young on their bench.
I’ve selected five teams that are some of the best in the league but aren’t good enough because of the necessity for more three-point shooting. These teams would benefit by signing Young who would relish the opportunity to play for a contender.
Here are the five teams that should take a shot at signing Nick Young:
5. Philadelphia 76ers (17-8 record)
The Philadelphia 76ers are currently the third seed in the Eastern Conference but are in need of more three-point shooting. As good as they are, Philly is only 12th in the league in three-pointers made. A few more points per game coming from beyond the arc should help them win more games.
Being one of the older players on this team should inspire Young to be a leader rather than simply being a role player. This role change could help the shooting guard play even better knowing that the core players on this team, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, are looking to him for direction.
Though they already have sharp-shooter J.J. Redick on their roster, his presence hasn’t been enough to vault them to near the top of the league in shooting from trifecta.
4. Detroit Pistons (13-8 record)
New coach Dwane Casey has given the Detroit Pistons a shot of adrenaline by having Blake Griffin play point forward. It has resulted in the team playing better than it has over the past few years. But the team is not in the top ten and is tied with the Sixers for 12th in three-point shooting. They would benefit from a player like Young coming in from the bench.
Last season, Casey changed the Toronto Raptors offense by incorporating the three in their attack. That resulted in the team’s franchise-best record of 59-23. He knows the benefit of having shooters and this Pistons team could have had an even better record after 21 games if they had Young on their roster much earlier.
But it’s not too late, Detroit. You can make up for that by signing Nick Young to a contract asap.
Hopefully, the Pistons give Young’s agent a call.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder (15-7 record)
After a rocky start to the season, the Oklahoma City Thunder are now near the top of the Western Conference standings at third place just behind surprising teams Denver Nuggets and L.A. Clippers. Despite this, the Thunder are atrocious from downtown, averaging only 10 three-pointers a game. They are tied for 23rd in the league along with three teams that are outside of the playoff picture. They are also tied with the Atlanta Hawks for the worst three-point shooting percentage in the league at 31.4 percent.
Swaggy P should help the Thunder with their three-point shooting woes. As good as Russell Westbrook and Paul George are, they need help offensively. It doesn’t matter if they’re good at finding the open man. If their teammates can’t knock down those shots it’s a wasted opportunity. They should give Young a look and they better do it fast before someone else gets him.
2. L.A. Lakers (14-9 record)
A second stint with the Los Angeles Lakers would be great for Young. He’s familiar with the team, the coaching staff as well as the arena. Having an all-time great teammate in LeBron James won’t be an issue for him as he’s familiar with having an Alpha Dog teammate when Kobe Bryant was still playing.
There’s no question that the Lakers need his shooting. They are 22nd in the NBA in threes made at 10.1 per game and shooting a woeful 34.5 percent from outside the arc. If they want to compete for a championship this season, L.A. will have to utilize the three better and Nick Young will help in that regard. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hasn’t been shooting the ball well as the backup shooting guard, making only 32.5 percent of his three attempts. Young will likely push him out of the rotation as he is a more consistent shooter.
Coach Luke Walton knows what the veteran shooting guard brings to the table after coaching him for a year. This should be an easy call for him to make.
1. San Antonio Spurs (11-12 record)
There are few teams that have the discipline that the San Antonio Spurs bring to every game. That’s a testament to how well-coached they are. Longtime head coach Gregg Popovich is one of the legends in the game but even he can recognize that his team could play better.
The Spurs don’t shoot as much as most teams from three but they make most of them. At 38.9 percent per game, San Antonio is the best three-point shooting team in the league.
So why would they need Nick Young?
At only 9.5 three-pointers made per game, they are nearly dead last in the league (tied for 28th overall). That can change with Young’s addition. He averaged 4.1 three-point attempts per contest last season for the Warriors and 7.0 attempts with the Lakers the season prior. But he’s not just taking shots from deep, he’s making them, too. At 37.7 percent last season and 40.4 percent before that, Young will be an invaluable reserve guard for when All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan sits. In fact, Pop could play both Young and DeRozan together to form a big backcourt that they can employ against teams like the Warriors.
Playing for the Spurs will also benefit Young who can learn more from a veteran ballclub and a successful coach like Popovich. Among all the teams in the league, Young is best suited to play for the Spurs.