COMMENTARY | The Los Angeles Lakers were going to be hard to watch next season considering their lack of young, athletic stars capable of making highlight-reel plays on a nightly basis. The most exciting team in LA lives across the hall at Staples Center, and with the Lakers' best players well into their 30s, filling the venue on Laker Day in 2013-14 was going to be a tall order.
On Thursday, the Lakers made a move that will change that.
That's because Southern California native and former USC star Nick Young has decided to don the purple and gold. Now, the Lakers will be the greatest show in Los Angeles again.
That's not because they'll be more exciting than Lob City, but because Young will join legend Kobe Bryant on the same team.
For all the accolades The Black Mamba has stacked up over the years, he can't shed the "gunner" label he gets tagged with each year, nor does he want to. He's made a Hall of Fame career over taking and making some of the most difficult shots fans will ever see, so he's earned the right to jack up jumpers with sometimes-reckless abandon.
Young grew up watching Kobe and patterned one key component of his own game after No. 24: his conscious-less shot-taking ability. He, too, can throw it up with the best of them. The 28-year-old averages an absurd 1.0 assist per game over the span of his seven-year career to go along with 11.4 points. His career assist-to-tunover ratio is an incredible 1 to 1.1, though he did have a career high in dishes in 2012-13 with an average of 1.4.
Nick Young is a guard who averages one assist per game and he's going to share the court with Kobe Bryant for significant minutes. No one could make that up.
This is not make-believe. It's 100 percent real, and it's glorious. If Mike D'Antoni can't figure out a way to run an offense with two basketballs simultaneously, then the nightly exhibitions from Bryant and Young could be legendary. If nothing else, the price of admission to watch the madness should be entertaining.
As the Lakers round out their roster, it looks as though Young may have a chance at sliding over to the three spot in the wake of Lakers using the amnesty provision on Metta World Peace. A traditional shooting guard, he has good enough size at 6-foot-7 to fill the now-vacant starting small forward spot.
Either way, he and Kobe will be on the floor together at some point, and it will be must-see TV.
The Lakers will be a mediocre basketball team at best next season. They lost their best defender from a year ago on a team that ranked near the bottom of the league in defensive rating (106.6, 20th in the NBA) and are now a collective year older.
But none of that matters. The Lakers will be fun to watch for the non-ideal, yet substantial reason that fans won't be able to take their eyes off the hilarious antics that are sure to take place when Young and Bryant become the most ironic teammates in the NBA.
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Michael C. Jones covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA as a Southern California-based sports journalist and editor. He contributes to SB Nation in addition to Yahoo! Sports and is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West.
Statistics via Basketball-Reference.com
- Sports & Recreation
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Kobe Bryant