2017 Exit Interviews: Nick Young

Nick Young completed one of the best all-around NBA seasons in his 10-year career, scoring 13.2 points per game on 43 percent from the field and an impressive 40.4 percent on a high volume of 3’s (7.0 attempts per game, 170 makes), while playing what Luke Walton has described as the best defense of his career. He would have easily passed Nick Van Exel’s team record of 177 threes made in a season, as Van Exel hit his in 79 games.

Young played only 60 games on the season, missing eight games due to a strained calf and 15 of the final 17 when the Lakers opted to develop their young players. Walton was quick to mention that his seat on the bench had nothing to do with Swag El’s* play, saying that Young was consistently among the best players on the team.
*Snoop Dog started calling Young “Swag El” after Young hit a dagger to beat Atlanta in early November.

Below is a summary of Young’s exit interview:

- Young, who can opt out of his current contract due to a player option, came in joking that the Lakers “just signed me to a $150 million deal!” He added that it was a “Lifetime deal!”

- Young revealed that he was nervous driving into the practice facility, knowing that he’d be meeting with Magic Johnson. A Los Angeles native, Young has long looked up to Magic.

- Young said he’s yet to decide whether he’ll opt out of his contract, saying that it was around a 60-40 chance, without clarifying what direction he was leaning. He wants to speak with his agent and evaluate the market, see what potential deals could be out there for him. He didn’t rule out a return to the Lakers if things should work out that way.

- Luke Walton was in the meeting with Magic and Rob Pelinka, and Young recalled how Walton was the one that wanted to give him a chance to play when there was a question in Young’s mind as to whether or not he’d just be cut outright. He gave Walton a lot of the credit for giving him the confidence to just play, and play well, and even get him to focus on the defensive end throughout the season. Like seemingly every other player on the roster, Young is a big fan of Walton: “I think Luke is one of the best coaches for this new era of basketball. He communicates with the players great. Gives people leeway.”

- Young is also a big fan of Brandon Ingram, whom he calls “Tiny Dog.” Young said he told Ingram that it’s “Tiny’s Town,” that this was no longer the B.I. from November, but the “B.I. in March dunking on people.”

- If there’s one thing to focus his work on in the offseason, it’s his body. Young said that came up in his meeting, and he has to take his nutrition more seriously, working to cut out some of the junk food that he consumes. “Gotta get my body right, watch my diet.”

- While it would be hard for Young to leave L.A., given his family being here and his kids being in school, he will look at all options that are out there.