Probably the biggest surprise of this Los Angeles Lakers season has been the resurrection of Nick Young. The 10-year veteran went from someone likely to be cut last summer, to a starter, to one of the best shooters in the NBA.
Young’s 42 3-pointers over a nine-game stretch is something that no Laker has ever pulled off, and many are pining for him to be in this year’s NBA Three-Point Shootout. Hardly anyone saw this level of success coming considering how bad of a season Young had last year.
Last year was under a different coaching staff, however, and in an interview with Jared Zwerling of NBPA.com, Young gave credit to Luke Walton and this new staff for the confidence they gave him this season:
“But the [Lakers’] coaching staff has been great. They put the ultimate confidence in me. That’s why I go out there and do it. I think without them, none of this really would be going on. They’ll tell me from the sideline to shoot the ball. They give me the green light.”
It’s amazing what confidence can do for a player and the difference in Young from last year to now is obvious. In previous years, Young had a coach in Byron Scott that he felt didn’t believe in him. Thus he felt nervous when on the floor that he would get subbed out if he made a mistake. It’s impossible to be successful when that’s on your mind.
With Walton and the new coaching staff pushing him to just be himself and put up good shots, Young has not only been great offensively, but he’s also locked in defensively, becoming arguably the Lakers’ best perimeter defender.
It was hard to picture this coming into the year, but Nick Young is a valuable part of this Lakers’ team, and the coaching staff is to thank for it.