From his confidence and swagger on the court to his hip-hop superstar girlfriend off the court, Nick Young was born to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. Young put it all on the line to sign with the Lakers on a 1-year deal with a player option for 2014-15 at the beginning of the 2013-14 season, and it’s about to pay off. Currently on $1.1 million, which is a poultry sum for the numbers he is putting up, it’s expected Young will opt out of his contract in order to get the payday he deserves. The Lakers should be the team to pay.
With Kobe Bryant out the majority of the season, Young took it upon himself to be the Lakers top scorer averaging a career high 17.9 points per game. Even if Bryant can regain some of that 2013 ‘Vino’ form, the Lakers currently don’t have anybody else signed that can score remotely close to what Young can. His signature will come at an added cost to his last contract, but a player in his prime with a public desire to play in Los Angeles is what the Lakers need right now.
Having started just nine games out of the 64 he played in during the season, Young made a strong case for the sixth-man of the year award. In an ideal scenario, the Lakers tip-off the season with a healthy Steve Nash and Bryant with a recently acquired Kevin Love along side them. They would still need to build a bench and Young is the place to start. If the Lakers can miraculously get back to a championship level in the next two seasons, Young is capable of being a championship calibre sixth-man.
When Young was feeling it, Staples Center lit up like their team wasn’t preparing for the worst record in franchise history. His 40 point games gave fans something to cheer for rather than bury their head in the sand as rival fans came at them from every angle. His contagious smile made Lakers fans forget, if only for a second, that their team was losing by double digits at home or that they were in the middle of a lengthy losing streak.
Fans in Tinseltown are in a bad way. They are lost without the prospect of potential championship glory, all while knowing their superstar is on his last legs. They need a pick me up, and Nick Young is where to start.