Nick Young was utterly complimentary of his former coach Luke Walton for turning a complicated situation in Los Angeles into a workable one at the start of the 2016-17 season.
The Los Angeles Lakers‘ locker room was filled with immaturity — the biggest stamp of it being D’Angelo Russell‘s blunder with Young’s former girlfriend, Iggy Azalea — one that cost him his relationship.
Despite the clear discord between the two players, Walton, known to be a player’s coach, stepped in and ironed out the situation enough for the two parties to coexist in the same locker room, allowing Young to have his best year in a Lakers’ uniform.
“He made the atmosphere different coming from the year with the D’Angelo situation and the Byron Scott situation. It was tough. I just stuck with it,” Young told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. “I didn’t want that to be it for me where the last thing people remember me as being in a situation with D’Angelo.”
This last season helped Young get on the Golden State Warriors‘ radar, ultimately putting him in a position to join the team as a free agent and be one of the working pieces to help a championship team.
The 6-foot-7 wing averaged 13.2 points and 2.3 rebounds per game while shooting 43.0 percent from the floor and 40.6 percent from deep in his last of three seasons in purple and gold. When asked about his often-questioned defensive prowess, Walton was utterly complimentary of his newfound aggression at the defensive end — a trait that locked down his entry to Golden State.