Los Angeles Lakers News: Can Nick Young Help Kobe Bryant, Jeremy Lin?
In their latest game, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Houston Rockets, 98-92.
Normally winning a regular season game and "improving" to 3-9 wouldn't attract much attention, but with the return of Nick Young, hope has returned to Los Angeles. "Swaggy P" has opened things up for other players with his perimeter shooting and defensive skills.
The Lakers are 2-0 this season when Young plays and 1-9 when Young does not play.
Last season, Jodie Meeks led the Lakers in 3-point shots made with 162. Unfortunately for the Lakers, Meeks decided to join the Detroit Pistons in the offseason on a three-year deal. Young ranked second on the Lakers with 135 3-point shots made. With Meeks in Detroit and Young missing the first portion of the season because of a thumb injury, the Lakers perimeter shooting has been terrible.
The Lakers rank 29th in three pointers made this season at just five per game.
Coming off the bench, Young -- who, in his off-time, has been romantically linked to bombshell rapper Iggy Azalea -- has provided extremely valuable minutes in his two games. In both games, Young has made six fields and multiple perimeter shots in the process. Young has grabbed nine rebounds and played more than 27 minutes in the two games he has played in.
Young was the leading scorer on the Lakers last season averaging a career-high 17.9 points per game.
Now with Young back, the door opens up for both Kobe Bryant and Jeremy Lin. Despite playing in his 19th season, Bryant is the NBA's leading scorer so far this year. Bryant has his critics, but he and most Lakers fans know that the roster isn't fully loaded, especially in the front court. Lin has started all 12 games for the Lakers this season at point guard and leads the team in assists. Lin and Bryant have made the most 3-point shots on the Lakers this season, but with Young back in the lineup, they don't have to focus on shooting deep shots as much.
Against the Atlanta Hawks, Lin had a season-high 10 assists with Young back in the lineup, and he is attempting fewer shots. As for Bryant, he is taking more high percentage shots and had a season-high seven assists against the Rockets in his last game.
Young won't be getting any MVP votes, but it's obvious he has a big impact on this team.
There's a good chance we could see Young win this year's Sixth Man of the Year Award.
When asked about Young's return, Lin said, "Man, it's a lot better. It's been a rough start to the season." Lin plays a crucial role with Bryant in running the offense this season, and he knows finding Young open at the perimeter is critical for the Lakers to succeed.
"Nick Young is exactly what we need off the bench," head coach Byron Scott said.
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