Thursday, July 15, 2010 2:21 p.m.
By Joe GloriosoCSNwashington.com
The NBA Summer League is supposed to be the showcase in which rookies get acclimated to NBA competition and undrafted free agents, along with a handful of veterans, have the opportunity to earn an invitation to training camp.
The Summer League also provides teams such as the Wizards a chance to get players they want to develop more some game time against other hungry players.
The sentiment amongst most is that if you are playing in Vegas past your third year in the league and you are not coming back from an injury, then you're not really where the team envisioned you would be when they drafted you.
This sentiment seems to hold true for the Wizards Nick Young who began his Summer League career in 2007 after being drafted by the Wizards with the 16th pick in the draft out of the University of Southern California.
The Wizards undeniably drafted Young for his prototypical size, speed, and leaping ability for a wing player, but the trait they were hoping to benefit most from was his sweet stroke and shot making ability.
Unfortunately, the payoff has not been recognized yet. Young has shown flashes of brilliance over the past 3 seasons but has not been able to deliver on a consistent basis.
As you can tell from the numbers above, Young improved statistically from his first year to the second but regressed last year. Now, to be fair to Young, his role has changed in just about every year he's been in the league.
His first year in the league, Eddie Jordan really did not use him all that much, as Jordan tended to focus a lot more on playing his veterans.
In year two with the absences of some key vets on the Wizards, we were all hoping to get a dose of more Young, only that didn't happen either.
Fortunately though in the month of April, when the Wizards were much more focused on playing their younger guys and developing the roster, Young averaged close to 18 points per game, showing us all that when given the playing time on a consistent basis that he can deliver in this league.
You might ask what the biggest difference in that last month of the season was.
Young averaged close to 35 minutes per game in those last 8 games. Mike Jones of CSNWashington even alluded to the importance of those 8 games at the beginning of April, and by all accounts, Young took advantage of the opportunity.
So what can we take away from all of this?
My optimistic approach would tell you that when given consistent minutes, Young can be a pretty good player in this league. My realistic approach would say that Nick has got to improve upon his defense and become a more reliable scorer in order to be on this team beyond next year.
Depending on what happens the rest of the summer in regards to free agency and who stays on the roster, it would seem that Young is going to get a shot at some good minutes to start next year off.
Talent wise, there are few on the roster that provide what Nick does, but this is not a league based on talent, it's based on delivering on talent. Return on Investment (ROI) if you would.
Monday night after posting 18 points on an efficient 6 for 11 shooting, including 4 of 7 from 3pt land Young indicated that he was retiring from Summer League play.
Young will end his NBA Summer League career averaging roughly about 18 points per game over a 4 year span that included 15 games. He dazzled us with dunks, showed off some turnaround-fade-a-way three point shots and more importantly gave us a glimpse of the chemistry he seems to already be developing with John Wall.
After the game Nick talked about how important it is to have a point guard like John Wall and the confidence he brings to the team. He also touched on the fact that he's going into a contract year as well and what that means for him going forward.
Nick also spoke to Chris Miller about changing his mentality and becoming a little bit more serious about his game and the importance of having a guard like Wall.
Im hoping that Nick gets more serious about his overall game but not at the expense of him having fun out there on the court. Its one thing to have a business-like approach to the game of basketball; its another to enjoy the game as it was meant to be played.
For Young, its not about sacrificing one for the other; its finding a way to balance both out.
Its getting down to crunch time for the kid they call Bean Burrito and the City, but if Summer League and mini-camp practices are any indication of what is to come, this could be not only a good year for Nick, but for the Wizards as well.