Swaggy P will be moving to the Bay next season, as Nick Young signed a one-year deal for the taxpayer's midlevel exception worth $5.2 million to join the defending champions.
The Golden State Warriors seem to be on a reformation tour with the Arenas-Crittenton era Washington Wizards. In their latest move, the Warriors managed to secure one of the league's best shooters and most well-known personalities:
The signing does at least partially explain Kevin Durant's decision to take less money on his contract. Durant was reportedly instrumental in Young's recruitment, which would have been far more difficult without Durant taking a salary haircut.
Despite staying in the same state, Nick Young will arguably experience a bigger change next season than anyone in the NBA. His role and situation will be the exact opposite of what they were last season. However, it would be hard to expect him not to succeed in Golden State. The best shooting team in NBA history just added another sharpshooter, and fans will have to hope that his maturation over the last year in Los Angeles will allow Steve Kerr and the Warriors' staff to keep his overly-happy shot trigger in line.
Offense: Flamethrower from Deep
Kevin Durant made waves around the Internet for reminding the world of the one moment that best describes Nick Young's personality:
Young calling his missed shot will always be funny, but that concept has never been less accurate of a description of Young than it was last season. Although he only played in 60 games last year in Los Angeles, Swaggy/Uncle P started every game and unexpectedly became a veteran leader in a teenager-heavy Laker locker room.
Nick Young attempted a staggering seven three-pointers per game last season, his career high by a significant margin. Even more impressive, he knocked down 40.4% of those looks from deep. That mark was just 0.2% below his career high, in a year when Young attempted just 2.3 triples per game. His ability to shoot off the catch was nearly unparalleled last year:
Young was a stellar offensive player for a team that barely scratched out 26 wins. He averaged 1.124 points per possession last year, which ranked in the 96th percentile per Synergy Sports. Young was solid in every area in which he might be used next year in Golden State--he ranked in the 83rd percentile as a spot-up shooter, in the 79th percentile in transition, and in the 68th percentile on off-ball cuts. If Nick Young was this efficient last year without much talent around him in Los Angeles, his potential heights in Golden State are nearly unimaginable.
Next Season: Controlled Gunner
The flip side to Nick Young's offensive game is his miserable defense. Young ranked in just the eighth percentile as a defender last year per Synergy Sports, allowing 1.037 points per possession. ESPN's Real Plus-Minus is not much kinder to Young, as his Defensive RPM was well below-average at -1.64.
However, it stands to reason that Young's defense will improve in Golden State. He will not only have plenty of help from the rest of the team's defenders but will also not have to guard opposing starters every night like he did in Los Angeles.
Nick Young will probably be Golden State's eighth or ninth man next season, depending on how much the staff trusts Patrick McCaw or if the Warriors' staff are as high on Omri Casspi's potential role in Golden State as I am. If Young was able to be such a deadly weapon on the offensive end with the 2016-17 Lakers as his supporting cast, the mind boggles at the levels of swag and sensational offense that he will be able to reach with the Golden State Warriors.