Lakers’ Nick Young says he will make season debut Tuesday

Nick Young was in great spirits after completing his first full practice with the Lakers on Saturday. The jokes were flying as he said he felt comfortable putting up shots and going through the motions for the first time since injuring his right thumb in October.

If all goes to plan, Young is expected to make his season debut on Tuesday when the Lakers face the Atlanta Hawks. Young was quick to share the news with his typical flair.

“The Defensive Player of the Year is here today and he’ll be here Tuesday,” Young said.

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Nick Young returns to first practice since suffering injury

On first glance, Nick Young appeared his usual self shooting on the court. Except that was shooting and dribbling with his left hand as his right hand was in a sling.

It was Young’s first appearance since tearing the radial collateral ligament in his thumb guarding Kobe Bryant. He later joined the team for sprints at the end of practice as Byron Scott said it was encouraging to see him run despite the sling. Continue reading

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Who has a worst first pitch: Nick Young or 50 Cent?

Nick Young entertains on the court with his flashy play, acrobatic shots and funny quotes. He also entertains by throwing a terrible first pitch last month at Dodger Stadium in which the ball sailed very high toward the backstop.

50 Center entertains with his rap albums, endless commercials and trash talking. He also entertains by throwing a terrible first pitch this week at Citi Field in which the ball went way outside and did not come close toward crossing home plate.

So which pitch is worst? Young’s throw that sailed high above the sky or 50 Cent’s left-handed throw that nearly hit a photographer? Vote in the poll below.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Nick Young a nominee for ‘Shaqtin a Fool’ MVP

For all the four-point plays, scoring binges and clutch shooting Nick Young unleashed with the Lakers, enough head-scratching moments emerged last season that made his coaches, teammates and fans laugh in both disgust and amusement.

Young performed a 360-degree spin move around Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas before shooting over the basket. As he tried to drive past his defender in the lane, Young suddenly stopped and made an awkward move that prompted a traveling call. He threw up his hands moments appearing to sink a three-pointer only for the ball to rim out of the basket.

All those sequences amounted toward TNT analyst nominating Young as a possible 2013-14 MVP for his “Shaqtin a Fool” segment that highlights NBA bloopers. Young remains in contention with Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins, who overshadowed his strong defensive presence with limited offensive decision making.

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Nick Young presents another shoe collection video

Before every game, Nick Young strolled into the locker room wearing a brand new pair of shoes.

Some sported bright colors. Some featured weird designs. Some of his kicks came from fashionable labels whose names escape me. Some of his kicks came from companies that everyone knows (Nike).

It is one thing to see Young’s eclectic collection of footwear little by little. It is quite another to see Young go on a shopping spree at Extra Butter in New York with Complex’s Joe La Pluma as shown in the video above.

Young appears never tired of showing off his accessories, already appearing in various shoe videos here and here. But after finishing his shopping spree, it is likely Young will feel inclined to shoot another video, eager to showcase his shoe collection that forever evolves and grows.

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Nick Young throws wild first pitch at Dodger Stadium


Nick Young can throw up a shot after performing a 360-degree spin move. But he cannot throw a baseball.

The Lakers’ star can convert on a four-point play. But as he showed when he threw the first pitch at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, Young cannot convert a throw.

Young can create his own shot with a basketball, making pull-up jumpers, step-back fadeaways, up-and-under reverse layups and floaters. Young cannot create his own pitch with a baseball, a fast-ball, slider, curveball or changeup.

So as Swaggy P hopes to remain an L.A. icon, it is clear this will hinge on whether he can reach a deal with the Lakers once he plans to opt out of his $1.2 million player option by June 25. If that move does not materialize, wearing a Dodgers uniform clearly will not work as a fallback plan.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Nick Young: “I believe I deserve more”

Lakers' Nick Young thought he had a three point shot at the end of the third period, but it was called back during second half action at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014.  Lakers defeated the Suns 115-99.  ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Dail

Lakers’ Nick Young thought he had a three point shot at the end of the third period, but it was called back during second half action at Staples Center Sunday, March 30, 2014. Lakers defeated the Suns 115-99. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Dail

Not that it’s a state secret, but Lakers forward Nick Young confirmed what he has said privately and suggested publicly for weeks now.

Young said he “pretty much” will opt out of his $1.2 million player option in an appearance Tuesday on 710 ESPN Radio in hopes of securing a longer and more lucrative deal here.

“I believe I deserve more,” said Young, who averaged a team-leading 17.9 points on 43.4 percent shooting primarily as a backup. “Coming back home means the world to me. It would be a blessing to be able to stay here. But I believe I came here and prove I deserve a little more. They’ve been disrespecting Swaggy P.”

Young, never shy to speak in the third person, didn’t mean the Lakers were disrespecting him. He meant that his market value dropped in his six-year NBA career after having a reputation as a relentless gunner who never plays a lick of defense.

“I believe I can do the other things a little bit well,” Young said. “Everything gets overshadowed by how I play on the offensive end. Once you come int this league, you get labeled a little bit. I get labeled a s a shoot first type of player. Kobe [Bryant] said go and run with it. They put you on the floor and know what you’re going to do.

As detailed in an earlier feature story, Bryant has also preached to Young about becoming a more complete player and taking film study more seriously. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni has tried maintaining a balancing act in coaching Young. D’Antoni gives Young the freedom to create his own shot, but often pleads to him to pass the ball more and show stronger effort on defense.

The Lakers like Young’s scoring and playful personality, but have fixed feelings about bringing him back beyond the possible price tag. Even if Young admired Bryant growing up at Cleveland High and USC, how will the two co-exist on the floor?

“I think I fit in very well. I can stick to my routine coming off the bench and be the scoring threat off the bench,” Young said. “They need a sub sometimes. Kobe needs to come off the game sometimes.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Nick Young sees no benefit in tanking

With each mounting loss securing their worst season in L.A. franchise history, the Lakers’ future indirectly looks brighter.

The defensively maligned Lakers may have deprived their fans of free tacos, but they have helped their position in the NBA draft lottery. The Lakers (25-54) enter tonight’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies (47-32) at Staples Center with the sixth worst record in the NBA, ranking ahead of only the Milwaukee Bucks (15-65), Philadelphia 76ers (17-63), Orlando Magic (23-56), Utah Jazz (24-56) and Boston Celtics (25-55).

That standing gives them a 6.3 percent chance of securing the No. 1 pick, which could be used for a number of top prospects, including Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embidd and Duke’s Jabari Parker should he declare for the draft. The Lakers have showed otherwise. Yet, The Lakers’ chances for the top pick improve if they finish last (25 percent), second-worst (19.9 percent), third-worst (15.6 percent), fourth-worst (11.9 percent) or fifth worst (8.8 percent).

Yet, Lakers forward Nick Young saw little benefit in chasing those odds, admittedly for selfish reasons.

“We’re not going out there just to lose for the draft because I think we still want to be in the league,” Young said. “These guys are coming in to take our spots, so, I’m not about to give up for somebody else to come in and take my spot.”
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Nick Young experiencing a swirl of emotions in Lakers’ 120-97 loss to Clippers

Lakers’ Nick Young goes down trying to chase down a loose ball during game action at Staples Center Sunday April 6, 2014. Clippers defeated the Lakers 120-97. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

Lakers’ Nick Young goes down trying to chase down a loose ball during game action at Staples Center Sunday April 6, 2014. Clippers defeated the Lakers 120-97. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News )

The towel draped over Nick Young’s head, masking something that very few have ever seen during his lone season with the Lakers.

He cried. He cursed. He winced.

It appears understandable Young wanted to cover up such raw emotions, something that contradicts his infectious smile, friendly personality and positive outlook on everything around him. But this seemed too much.

The Lakers’ 120-97 loss Sunday to the Clippers in a designated road game at Staples Center officially put this year’s purple and gold team tied with the 1974-75 squad boasting the worst record in franchise history in Los Angeles. The Lakers (25-52) would have to go undefeated through their five remaining games simply to tie the record held by the 1974-75 team (30-52). Meanwhile, Young felt soreness in his left knee while diving for a loose ball late in the third quarter. It took him a while to stand up on his own before eventually limping to the bench and then placing the towel over his face.

“A little bit of everything that’s going on,” Young said in explaining his emotions. “Pain, everybody getting hurt, just how the season’s been a little frustrating.”
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Nick Young calls right ankle “sore,” but hopes to play Sunday vs. Clippers

Pain still lingers in his mildly sprained right ankle and even the fracture and bone bruise in his left knee that sidelined him for 16 games.

Those ailments, coupled with frustration stemmed from the Lakers’ 107-95 loss Friday to the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center, still did not sour Young’s optimism that he will suit up Sunday against the Clippers in a designated road game at the same arena,

“I hope so,” Young said, who plans to receive treatment on Saturday on his ankle and knee. “We’ll see.”

Young appeared to experience a scare after grabbing a defensive rebound and landing on his ankle awkwardly with 7:04 left in the fourth quarter. Shortly afterwards, Young limped to the locker room with Lakers trainer Gary Vitti. But after getting taped, Young returned to the bench three minutes later.

Young, who scored 14 points on 5 of 8 shooting, did not reappear in the game, but he kept his spirits enough to hide a laugh while holding up a towel. It turns out Young’s jovial personality has also covered up the pain he has felt in his left knee, a development that has kept the Lakers’ training room way too busy. The Lakers already have injuries to Kobe Bryant (fractured left knee), Pau Gasol (vertigo), Xavier Henry (bone bruise in right knee, torn ligament in left wrist), Chris Kaman (strained right calf) and Jordan Farmar (strained right groin).

“It’s tough. It’s been like this all season. Everybody is getting hurt. It’s just tough,” Young said. “You want to end the season on a good note. We only have six games left. I think we’re all trying to manage. A lot of people are hurt. We’re just trying to play through everything.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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