Nick Young profile
Drafted #16 in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Wizards
RCSI: 89 (2004)
Height: 6'7" (201 cm)
Weight: 206 lbs (93 kg)
Position: SG/SF
High School: Cleveland High School (California)
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
College: USC
Current Team: Nuggets
Win - Loss: 64 - 30


NBA Vegas Summer League Player Reports (Part One)

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Matt Williams
Matt Williams
Jul 23, 2009, 01:55 am
After an inconsistent season with the Wizards, Young, along with most of the team's young reserves, took another tour of duty in the Summer League to mesh with his teammates. Reaching a critical point in his development, Young has shown the tools to be a major offensive threat on the NBA level. Unfortunately, he has a hard time consistently stringing together good quarters of basketball, let alone good games. The four games Young played in the Summer League were a microcosm of that issue, as he once again wavered between utter dominance and inefficient productivity against lesser competition. As one of the only NBA players here that averaged more than 10 points per game last season, Young didn't surprise anyone with his big game ability.

Always lauded for his prototypical size, speed, and leaping ability for a wing, Young's most exciting, and sometimes frustrating, asset remains his shot making ability. Possessing a fluid stroke with solid elevation and a nice release, Young effortlessly drilled shots from the perimeter in his team's rout of the Cavaliers. Hitting five of his eight three-point attempts, Young connected on shots off the dribble, off of passes, from the block, running off of screens, and even a fadeaway 20-footer that came after a jump stop and a pair of pump fakes. Young's assertiveness with the ball placed him amongst the top scorers in the whole Summer League at 23.8 points per game. While that number is very impressive, the fact remains that Young still has his fair share of weaknesses offensively, many of which were still apparent despite his scoring.

Young is often too confident in his scoring ability for his own good, taking more shots with a hand in his face than most players care to try. Though his percentages on these shots aren't bad in comparison to the average bulk scorer, the fact that he takes as many of them as he does can be concerning. This problem didn't rear its head often in the Summer League, as Young was able to move freely in transition and in half court sets without much resistance, finding daylight to put himself in position to score essentially at will.

Moving with a purpose coming off of screens quite frequently this week, he has a lot of potential as an off-screen scorer, though that accounted for a very low percentage of his possessions last season. When he couldn't shake his defender, Young hit a couple of tough shots early in the week, but also put the ball on the floor a number of times, showing off his impressive pull up jumper and tossing in a couple of tough shots near the rim between defenders. Despite naturally fading away on his jumper when driving right and almost always taking the first available jump shot when driving left, Young didn't hurt his team with his decision-making off the dribble in their early contests.

Everything that went right for Young in his 36 point outing against the Cavaliers went wrong in Washington's game against a more talented Clippers team. Young still finished with 19 points, which is not too shabby, but he went only 5-14 shots and turned the ball over 8 times. During the first games where Young showed excellent consistency in his shooting mechanics, he began to rush things more and more as the week went on. To compensate for a couple of defended, short-armed jumpers, Young earned himself a number of trips to the line by attacking the rim aggressively, going 7-7 against Los Angeles. As time goes on, Young would be well served to improve his ability to get to the line to decrease his reliance on his midrange jumper.

Young's overall performance was almost perfectly aligned with what we've grown to expect from him on the NBA level. Offering very little in the form of defensively ability, passing, or rebounding, Young scored at will and didn't do much else. He wasn't too bad defensively, but for a player with his tools, he forces very few turnovers, doesn't close out aggressively, and lets himself get beaten off the dribble by lesser athletes too often. Some of that has to do with a lack of awareness, but it is also an indicator of where Young is at this point in his career.

Blessed with outstanding scoring tools, Young is a useful NBA roleplayer who is capable of lighting up the score board if he gets hot. However, the way he will attempt to score those points will often lead to bouts of inconsistency, which coupled with his lack of versatility, can make him a much less exciting prospect. One can't question Young's skill level, talent, or his ability to score at will in the Summer League, but his aggressive shot selection and ability to make tough shots is just as much a curse for him as it is a blessing when the regular season rolls around. With Washington's roster finally boasting a clean bill of health, Young will need to play a more controlled offensive game to complement his team's high usage players. If he can hit his open shots coming off of screens, not force as many jumpers one-on-one, and focus on his defensive game, Flip Saunders won't miss the occasional 25 point outbursts Young had last season.

Las Vegas Summer League Day Four

Matt Williams
Matt Williams
Mike Schmidt
Mike Schmidt
Jul 16, 2008, 12:06 am
Though he has an unorthedox style of play, Nick Young displayed some impressive tools throughout the game. The second year guard can make very difficult shots while fading away, which will allow him to score against nearly any defender at the NBA level. He also showed good accuracy from three, and good athleticism in transition. Young was often criticized for a low basketball IQ coming out of college, but looks to be improving his understanding of the game. The guard still has work to do on the defensive end of the floor. He must work on becoming a more physical defender, and using his length as an advantage. If Young can continue to develop his game at this rate, he should be a solidified part of the Wizards location this season.

West Coast Workout Swing:Day 4 (Nick Young,Bobby Brown,Danny Granger)

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
May 23, 2007, 10:31 pm
This wasn’t Young’s best shooting day from what we were told, even though from our perspective the 3-ball still went in for him at a pretty nice rate. In the 79 3-pointers (NBA and college) that we charted him on, he hit 56, which is a very solid 71% clip. His mechanics and touch are very good, and his release point is consistent, leading us to believe that he will develop into a solid NBA 3-point shooter down the road, even if his bread and butter will probably be in the mid-range area.

It’s here that his true colors as a scorer really come out, showing outstanding footwork to create space for himself, an excellent assortment of jabs, fakes and pivots (it’s obvious here that he emulates Kobe Bryant), and multiple release points to get his shot off in many different ways. He’s an instinctive scorer, a self-made player who takes what the defense gives him. He has a great little wiggle he uses to keep his man off balance and constantly guessing as to what his next move will be, as well as the shooting stroke and quick release needed to give his jab-steps from the triple-threat position all the credibility in the world. He loves going to the turnaround jumper, getting his man to commit to his shot-fake and then pivoting fluidly right into a gorgeous fade-away.

If his defender guards him too close, he has the athleticism (particularly the first step) and ball-handling skills to shake his man and blow right by him. His size (a hair under 6-6, w/out shoes, from what we were told separately by both his agent Aaron Mintz and strength and conditioning trainer Shawn Dassie), fantastic wingspan (6’11 ½”) and absolutely massive hands help him greatly in this area, as does his explosive vertical leap, measured at an impressive 44 inches with a running start. He’s still a pretty skinny guy, but he’s added 9 pounds to his frame according to Dassie since he began working out, bringing him to 209 pounds on the day we were there.

He definitely could use another 5-6 pounds to help him fight through screens and finish stronger around the basket, two areas that he was just OK in from what we saw. He didn’t seem to be taking things all that seriously for the most part, though, laughing and joking around plenty once Granger decided to sit down. This was a pretty impressive workout regardless, though, even if there are only so many conclusions you can draw from here regarding his ability to fit in on an NBA team in a 5 on 5 setting. There is no doubt that teams are going to be impressed from what they see in the next few weeks, though.

In a bit of a change from years past, the NBA has decided to only invite 11 players to the “physical-only” part of the pre-draft camp (instead of 18 or 20 like in years past), meaning that players like Nick Young ended up getting squeezed out. His measurements and combine scores could have surely helped him.

NCAA Tournament: Stock Watch (Sweet 16, Friday )--Stock Down/Neutral

Rodger Bohn
Rodger Bohn
Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Joey Whelan
Joey Whelan
Mar 24, 2007, 05:32 am
For those who haven’t followed Nick Young very closely over his three year career at USC, tonight’s game was a pretty good introduction to the type of player he is. He showed off his many strengths and weaknesses equally well, and overall had a pretty nice showing despite running out of gas towards the end of the game.

Young started off the game looking like a man on a mission. His outstanding mid-range game was on full display, utilizing his devastating combination of jab-steps and hesitation moves from the triple threat position and looking like a true NBA shooting guard knocking down pull-up jumpers and fade-aways smoothly off the dribble. He elevates wonderfully from the mid-range and does a phenomenal job with his footwork and maintaining his body control to get off a clean look with an excellent release point.

His best play of the game came fairly early, throwing a quick jab at his defender and then just exploding towards the rim with an incredible first step before throwing down an emphatic one-handed jam in traffic. He caught North Carolina’s defense completely off-guard, and undoubtedly had scouts scribbling furiously after pulling off such a strong move. He also hit an open spot-up 3-pointer during this terrific initial burst he started the game off with.

Young was extremely active on the defensive side of the ball as well, doing an excellent job keeping Brandon Wright from establishing position on him and going around him to pull down rebounds over the 6-9 power forward, despite being a 6-5 shooting guard (playing out of position) himself. He had 5 rebounds in the first 6 and a half minutes, but was not able to maintain the same level of energy and only pulled down one board the rest of the way.

Often times when a young player is participating in a truly huge game for his very first time at the collegiate level, you see them getting so pumped up from the adrenaline rush early on that they end up exhausting themselves physically. This might have had something to do with the sharp decline we saw in the second half in his energy level, as well as the foul trouble that plagued him for much of the game.

With his legs clearly not responding the way he needed them to in the second half, Young began resorting back to his old ways. He was too often the last stop in the flow of his team’s offense, receiving the ball, but never making any real effort to create for anyone else. The 0 assists he dished out compared to 6 turnovers is quite telling in this regard, but not all that surprising when you consider that he only averages 1.4 assists per game. North Carolina kept throwing fresh bodies at him in a constant wave, and Young responded by settling for too many contested outside shots, finishing the game 1-5 from behind the arc.

All in all, Young has probably showed enough in this tournament to secure himself a spot in the first round, and could very well be considered a strong pick in the 10-20 range of the draft when it’s all said and done if he works out with NBA teams as well as we think he can. He’s got great scoring tools as his extremely productive college career would indicate, well as a nice upside to continue to improve.

NCAA Weekly Performers, 2/20/07-- Part One

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Joseph Treutlein
Joseph Treutlein
Jonathan Watters
Jonathan Watters
Feb 21, 2007, 03:17 am
Behind almost every single one of USC's key wins, a key performance from Nick Young exists. He first put the Trojans on the map with 26 points in a win over then #8 Wichita State, and followed that up with a 25 point effort in the conference opener against then #13 Washington. Young is the near-lone reason USC managed to sweep Arizona, averaging 28 points and shooting a near-unthinkable 69% from the floor in the two wins. The sweep of Oregon? Young averaged a more pedestrian 16 ppg, but did it on 67% shooting. Even though USC would eventually fall to UCLA in Westwood, Young managed to take the game to the wire by pouring in 20 points on 9-12 shooting.

Young's 17.2 ppg is actually down slightly from a season ago, but he is now shooting 53.5% from the field (up from 46.7%), and 47.7% from beyond the arc (33.3% a year ago). Considering that he is playing further away from the basket this year now that the Trojans have a full-time PF, and that Young gets the call nearly every time the shot clock is running down or his team needs a key basket, this level of efficiency is very impressive. Where Young once provided fans with a nightly roller coaster ride of consistency and feel for the game, his off nights have come less and less as this season has wore on.

While Young doesn't appear to do anything exceptionally well in terms of the NBA, his biggest strides have come in his midrange game. Young used to have a very up and down jump shot, sometimes looking overwhelmed in forcing the issue in the half-court. He now looks very much at ease attacking defenses designed to limit him, utilizing screens well and taking what the defense gives him. Teams used to be able to play off of him, but now he is taking midrange jumpers and making them look easy. He loves the step back/fadeaway all the way out past the 3-point line, and will spin and elevate for impressive scores closer to the basket. Young may never be a 3-point shooting specialist in the NBA, but his intuitive, simple release allows him to get shots off in a variety of ways.

Defenders now have a serious quandary in deciding whether to leave him open or let him attack the basket. Young doesn't have an exceptional first step and is still on the skinny side, but has first-rate vertical explosiveness, good slashing feel and the ability to finish through contact. For the most part, Young attacks the basket aggressively at the slightest opportunity, and barely needs any advantage at all to get to the rim in transition. There are times when he can get passive and float around the perimeter, but he’s developed a fairly strong understanding of when dribble drive opportunities are available to him.

While Young's impressive junior season probably has him in line for First Team All Pac-10 honors and on the short list of legitimate conference POY candidates, there are still things he can work on. Young's offensive consistency has improved, but one gets the feeling that he can still become a better day-in, day-out go to scorer (see the disappointing loss @Arizona State in which he scored just 11 points). At times he will forget about attacking the basket and settle for lower percentage outside shots. While not a poor defender, Young's focus and intensity on the other side of the ball can certainly improve.

While Young is far from a sure thing in the NBA, his evolved offensive game gives him a chance to contribute right away, and he retains solid starter-level upside. He does a variety of things well, has the size and athleticism to make it, and has the scoring feel to make for a frame that is definitely on the lean side. Young is a good bet to test the waters after the season, especially if he can get hot in March. He has already proven he can be a go-to guy against the NCAA's elite, but a further display in the NCAA Tournament could easily push Young's stock into the middle of the first round in this wing-deprived 2007 NBA Draft.

NCAA Weekly Performers-- 1/3/2007, Part Two

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mike Schmidt
Mike Schmidt
Jonathan Watters
Jonathan Watters
Jan 04, 2007, 01:49 am
After a solid sophomore year in which he scored 17 points per game, Nick Young returned for his junior year and has so far played very well. His scoring is down, but there are a lot of reasons to like what Young and USC are doing this season. In a double overtime win against Washington, his strong play not only helped his draft stock, but led his team to an impressive overtime win against a stacked Washington team.

Young has a good body for the NBA, as well as legit size for the 2-guard position. He is athletic enough for the next level, and can put his physical attributes to use on both ends of the floor. He also possesses long arms, and uses them effectively on the defensive end.

When it comes to scoring, Young is good at pretty much everything, but doesn’t stand out in any one area. He has improved his three point shooting percentage to over 42% this season, but he only makes about one per game, which is not exactly the best sample size. Young has a good first step, and the ability to finish inside around the basket or pull up smoothly from mid-range, so he’s always a threat to create his own shot. He also has the ability to get to the line with some frequency. His free throw shooting percentage is down from last year, but Young’s shooting stroke produces plenty of arch and spin on the ball.

Against Washington, Young’s all-around ability was on display for much of the game. He did most of his damage slashing to the hoop against the solid defense of Quincy Pondexter. Young made 8 of his 10 free throw attempts in the game, and used his ability to hang in the air and control the ball to create the free throw attempts. Despite starting off slow, his jumper looked very solid, as did his defense. During both overtime periods, Young was responsible for making some huge shots from both the field and the three point line. Without these clutch shots, there is no way USC would have pulled this game out.

Young has solid all-around ability, but we’re still wondering what exactly his bread and butter is. He doesn’t stick out as the type of player with all-star potential at the next level, and he still hasn’t quite carved out a niche for himself as a go-to guy at the college level. Still, Young is the type of player that GMs will have a hard time passing up when searching for a complete role player. To best help his draft stock, Young will need to help USC be competitive in the Pac 10 for the rest of the season, and preferably make and win a game or two in the NCAA Tournament. If he can do this and get his free throw shooting back to where it was last season, he will have a shot at landing in the first round if he decides to come out.

Top 15 NBA Draft Prospects in the Pac-10

Oct 19, 2005, 03:09 pm
Not a highly regarded high schooler, Nick Young still managed to beat out several upperclassmen for the right to start in the Trojan backcourt as a freshman. Young has very nice athleticism, but is more than capable of playing the finesse game. He has great body control, shoots well from the outside, and is going to be a factor creating his own shot. Young will need to play tougher and add consistency, though these aren’t uncommon problems for a freshman. Like Pruitt, he’ll be getting top-notch coaching and plenty of shots this winter. Young could be primed to explode.

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