Now, this dunk wasn’t on, on Australia’s Andrew Bogut, but we’ll include him for diplomatic reasons. Turkey’s Ersan Ilyasova getting smacked around by Los Angeles’ Nick Young is really the big winner here.
One of the first things that comes to mind when looking at a picture like this is that there’s no way he’s making it to the rim.
You’d think some big time NBA advertising partner would want to sponsor a secondary dunk contest. Wouldn’t that haul in some bank on television? TNT, are you there? I understand the desire to make the official dunk contest on NBA all-Star Saturday night an elite and exclusive event, but there are too many good dunkers in the NBA not to have more than four participants.
Apologies to you, Nick Young, but also, here’s to you.
Young started Wednesday night’s game versus the Milwaukee Bucks with a traveling turnover and a couple missed shots that looked completely forced. He didn’t score his first field goal until the 10:59 mark of the second quarter, but then caught fire over the remainder of the period with 11 points on 5-8 shooting, including this dunk, as the Wizards out-scored the Bucks 25-18 to take a 47-37 lead at half. But just two of Young’s second quarter field goals were assisted by a teammate.
In the third, he came out more within the offense and paced the Wizards with 13 points on 5-7 shooting. This time, all of his buckets were created by a teammate. Washington took a 77-60 lead into the fourth.
Down the stretch, the Wizards made some unforced turnovers, and some forced, the quick hands of Brandon Jennings coming into play against Kirk Hinrich. Washington coughed the ball up eight times in fourth, and Young didn’t make a basket, but the Wizards had built up a big enough lead behind Young fighting his way through a rough start with a strong middle 24 minutes of the game. And the Bucks only out-scored Washington 25-23 in the final period anyway, ultimately falling 85-100 and breaking Washington’s eight game losing streak.
It was another Nick Young “specialist” game. He scored 26 points on 10-19 shooting (3-5 from beyond the arc), thanks to three assists from John Wall and a couple from Andray Blatche. He got to the free-throw line just three times, making all of them, snagged four rebounds, all defensive, and shared just one assist to three turnovers. Young did have two blocked shots and a steal. Early in the third, he jumped in the passing lane, pushed the ball up the court, gave it up to Wall on the two-man break, and finally got it back for the oop-dunk.
Young has found a niche scoring role within Flip Saunders’ offense, draining corner threes thanks to John Wall, throwing down a dunk every now and then, and with the final ingredient being a bad shot here and there. He plays adequate defense, but any other contribution is purely coincidental. Will he further improve? Because one thing people also miss when debating Young’s merits is how much his confidence has improved and how much further it could go.
That being said, it’d be no surprise if we’ve arrived at Nick Young’s ceiling. As his audition for a contract spans the rest of this season, the debate over whether he’s worth re-signing for whatever his value may be rages.
But on this occasion, let’s just thank him for the dunk.