Nick Young spent the second-half of the Lakers 99-87 loss to the Houston Rockets on the bench after a lackluster effort over two quarters. He went scoreless for the first time in his Lakers’ career, putting up 2 shots in nine mercurial minutes.
With Kobe Bryant out, along with injuries to Steve Nash, Julius Randal, and Xavier Henry, Young certainly has the green-light to put up shots. But Head Coach Byron Scott is known for his old school style of leadership, and accountability on the defensive end of the floor is just as important as scoring points. Scott alluded to Young’s disinterest as the catalyst to him being benched after halftime.
“It looked to me that he didn’t want to be here,” explained Scott.
“At halftime, we showed stuff on the tape where he was guarding Corey Brewer in the corner. I asked ‘What were you thinking on his play?’ The answer he gave me, I couldn’t figure it out. So I just felt with his body language that he didn’t want to play tonight, so I chose not to play him.”
“He’s the coach. He’s seen what he’s seen. It’s not my place to get into that really,” said Young a day after not speaking with the media following the loss. “I’m not in a situation to go back and forth with the coach because I would never play.
“There ain’t a day that goes by that I don’t want to be out on the court,”he continued. “I love being here. I love playing basketball. I get a joy out of playing and seeing the fans, hearing them chant ‘Swaggy P.’ That’s what drives me.”
Young has had trouble adjusting to receiving more attention from opposing defenses since Bryant’s absence.
“Last night the Rockets double-teamed me every time I came off pick and rolls,” said Young. “It’s tough but we’ve got to go out there and still fight, still gotta give fans a show. It’s a chance for other people to step up now.”
Young is shooting 37% from the field, the same as fallen teammate Kobe Bryant who had been ridiculed for his inaccuracy. Still Young is confident he can carrying the offensive load.
“Just give me the ball and get out of the way.”