NBA AM: Is Nick Young Forcing The Issue?
Young Struggling To Find His Way: Wizard’s swing man Nick Young thought he’d get a monster payday this off-season. He was a restricted free agent, but his stats over his short career were strong enough that a nice multi-year deal was almost assured. But a funny thing happened on the way to the bank. Teams just didn’t seen Nick’s value the same way he did. In the end, instead of signing a multi-year deal that locked in his future, Young took the Wizards’ $3.7 million qualifying offer and will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, making this year extremely important. But a new problem with a familiar face continues to haunt Young, and that is his team can’t win games.
“It’s tough, just everybody forcing trying to get that win,” Young told HOOPSWORLD. “We’ve got to find some kind of chemistry out there, some kind of structure.”
Immediately Young wants to take the blame for his team’s struggles, but the problems in Washington are bigger than Nick Young.
“I just got to find my spots out there. Shoot the shots that I want to shoot and not force some things.” said a dejected Young. “We started off slow we’ve got to get things going from the jump. It’s kind of tough right now. It’s hard. “
“It’s tough, especially for me. I’m tired of losing. I’ve been losing too much here and it’s tough. You don’t want to fall back into having another one of them seasons. You start to forget how to play and we can’t get down when we’re losing. We got to continue to play this game of basketball as hard as we can because it’s all we got right now.”
Young is averaging 14.2 points per game on the season and shooting just 37.3% from the field and an even worse 27.8% from NBA three.
It is easy to make the connection that Young is feeling the pressure from not getting his big payday and trying to do too much.
“There is always pressure, you know, but I’ve been dealing with pressure situations all my life.” revealed Young. “There was pressure to get to this point you. Coming up out of college, there’s pressure. I just got to get out there and play my game. I can’t just wait for things to happen. I’ve got to start taking over myself.”
“I know I’m tired of losing. I’ve been here four years straight and ain’t had a winning season. It gets tiring. It gets frustrating and you want to win bad. I can see it on their faces after every game we want to win. “
The Wizards held a players-only meeting yesterday and cleared the air, with the primary topic being far too much selfish, “entitled” play. Several of the veteran players took issue with how the young guys were playing for themselves and not playing for each other.
The Wizards are the only winless team in the NBA and face the 2-4 New York Knicks tonight in DC. They are currently ranked 29th in points per game, 26th in rebounds per game, 29th in assists per game and 25th in points allowed.
Doomed By The Pen: Former Kings’ coach Paul Westphal was fired long before yesterday, he just didn’t know it.
To be fair, Westphal is a very good coach.
He just was the wrong coach for a rebuilding Kings’ team, especially a team that went cheap when they hired him and for the first two years went cheap on what he could spend on assistant coaches.
Well-coached teams tend to be the result of a very good coaching staff, not just a good head coach.
Early this week the fruits of that came to a head, when disgruntled second-year player DeMarcus Cousins was sent home, and the Kings’ laundry with Cousins was aired by way of a released statement from Westphal declaring DeMarcus had demanded a trade.
A good assistant coach would have headed that statement off, or maybe tried to talk his coach out of jumping on a landmine.
Westphal knew he was going to take the blame for the Kings’ continued lackluster play, so maybe he did himself in to stop the misery.
Kings’ co-owner Joe Maloof all but said the Westphal letter was the final straw, but said that Kings’ president Geoff Petrie made the final decision to whack Westphal.
“I didn’t know about any letter,” Maloof said to Sam Amick of SI.com. “We didn’t know about any of that. … We didn’t know about the statement or anything like that.
“They made a basketball decision, to sit him for a night and that’s the only thing that we do know.”
“We’ve owned the team 13 years and it’s our belief that you keep basketball situations in house and not make them public. That did upset me. … It’s always been our history to keep things in the organization and not to make it public. As far as I was concerned, [Cousins] would sit the bench one night and that’s all there was to it.”
The Kings replaced Westphal with former Warriors’ coach and current assistant coach Keith Smart, who will likely be a better fit in the long run.
“It was Geoff and the basketball operation’s decision,” Maloof said. “He thought it was time for change and that’s what they decided to do. We appreciate everything Paul’s done. He’s been very, very professional, and is a terrific, classy guy. It’s tough to do, but the time had come.”
There is no doubting that the way Westphal handled Cousins played a big role in the timing of the change, but according to Joe Maloof, this was more about how the team was playing.
“The team wasn’t playing as to where we expected it to be playing,” said Maloof. “Geoff thought there needed to be a change and we OK’d it. [The decision was] made yesterday afternoon. We’re just going to continue to try to make our team better. We have to wait and try to find the right fit. It’s not easy.”
There is no doubting that Paul Westphal was going to be fired this year. That was almost a given. The moment Westphal’s statement was released you knew the clock was ticking.
As they say ‘coaches are hired to be fired’, but in this case Westphal doomed himself with his own pen and both Westphal and the Kings may be better off because of it.
Not Trading Rondo: Celtics president Danny Ainge said at no point was he “shopping” Rajon Rondo, and that when the rumors of Rondo being moved surfaced in the press he sat his point guard down and explained in detail what was happening.
“I sat down with Rondo when he got back into town, when the lockout ended, and I just told him the truth of what was going on. And that was it,” Ainge said to WEEI’s The Big Show.
“I’ve had conversations since, told him exactly what was happening. … I was not trying to trade Rajon Rondo. There’s a big difference between trying to acquire a player and trying to trade a player. Rondo knows what I was trying to do, and he knows I wasn’t shopping him around and trying to trade him, as has been reported. There’s a big difference.”
The Celtics were linked to offers for Chris Paul before he was traded to the LA Clippers, and Rondo was believed to be the center piece of the offer.
Ainge says he’s been pleased with how Rondo has handled all of the hype and the pressure, saying from all accounts Rondo had a chip on his shoulder long before the rumors surfaced.
“I think that that he was very motivated, we had received reports all summer how hard he was working this offseason,” said Ainge. “He showed up in great shape and he came out of the gates playing fantastic basketball for us, and he had a great training camp and he has the right mindset when he goes out on the court.”
The Celtics have won four straight games and are 4-3 so far on the season, which is good enough for 6th place in the East.
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