Before the Los Angeles Lakers were crushed by the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, Nick Young talked about his relationship with his former head coach, Mike D’Antoni.
Young, who missed the matchup against the Rockets with a strained calf, played and flourished under D’Antoni in Los Angeles during the 2013-14 NBA season. The veteran guard/forward had arguably his best season ever with D’Antoni calling the shots for the Lakers and both of them still respect each other to this day.
D’Antoni spoke highly of Young and the season he’s currently having, via Mark Medina of the OC Register:
“He’s a force on the floor. The biggest thing is he’s really into playing defense,” D’Antoni said. “He has unbelievable talent. It’s unfortunate he hit a little bit of a snag.”
Young’s impressive season has surprised everyone. The NBA journeyman went from being on the trading block and possibly seeing his career take a drastic turn after last season to being one of the best players on Luke Walton’s squad up to this point.
Although Young has seemingly resurrected his career under Walton, it hasn’t been easy for the 31-year-old since D’Antoni left town. Fortunately, Young has had support from his former coach in the meantime, via Medina:
“It’s been good,” Young said of his talks with former Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni. “When I wasn’t doing too well, he was texting me.”
After D’Antoni’s coaching career seemed to head in the wrong direction after a failed stint with the Lakers and Young appeared to be on his way out of Los Angeles, both of them have gotten back on the right track. D’Antoni has the Rockets looking like a potential playoff team while Young is making a strong case for NBA Comeback Player of the Year.
Currently, Young will continue to nurse his calf strain in hopes of returning to the floor as soon as possible. The USC product appears to be progressing well and could be back sooner rather than later.