[Previously, Nick Young, among others, have wondered about his seeming inability to pass. Now, we are curious about Young's absence from the hyped summertime showcase, Capital Punishment.]
Nick Young’s much ballyhooed participation in Capital Punishment certainly brought the right amount of attention to the circumstance. Young, being the Washington Wizard with the most ties to Los Angeles, was certainly missed, and curiously so. What might remain a mystery is why exactly he didn’t take advantage of the chance to represent this hometown, L.A.’s Drew League team, against his professional city, D.C.’s Goodman League team.
Given that the restricted free agent has made strides playing more within an offensive system and more intelligently on defense over the past two seasons in Washington, efforts which have only gone to greatly increase expectations that will come with the price tag of his next contract, Young might have done himself well to play in the exhibition game held in D.C. No one knows if David Stern had Chinese government-like monitors keeping track of NBA league personnel web traffic, perhaps it being undesired that they, including Wizards brass, even watch Capital Punishment, much less make contact with players. Nonetheless, Young endearing his talents in front of the DMV crowd, albeit for the West Coast squad, could only have been a positive thing. That is, unless, the constant prodding of Young by former teammate and sometimes friend Gilbert Arenas, now publicly available on Twitter, shuttered confidence weary of being overshadowed by the other talent on the court.
Indisputably, Team Drew could have used Nick Young in their 135-134 loss to Team Goodman on Saturday night. So where did it all go wrong? If not to combat the silliness with meticulousness…
Somewhat of a timeline:
Aug. 6: Young’s Drew League team, the Young Grangers, finishing 6-5 in the John Williams Division during the regular season, lost in the first round of the playoffs to Team COA, the second divisional seed. Out of 24 Drew League teams, Young’s squad finished tied for the 10th best record, with five other teams.
Team COA won 81-65 behind 25 points and eight assists from Marcus Banks, and 20 points and eight rebounds from Craig Smith. In a losing playoff effort for the Young Grangers, Young scored 35 points on 11-27 from the field (4-11 from three) with nine rebounds and zero assists. Teammate JaVale McGee scored just 10 points on 3-11 shooting and got six rebounds in 32 minutes. The winning team, at least, had 11 assists, eight turnovers. The losing team had four assists, 11 turnovers; Young and McGee had three turnovers each.
Retroactively July 31: Young scored 60 points in a loss for his team in the regular season finale, thought to be the end to his team’s playoff chances. ESPN LA’s Land O’ Lakers and the Washington Post nonetheless showed Nick some love soon thereafter.
Aug. 12: The team that knocked Young’s team out of the playoff lost to the eventual runner up in the championship semi-final. The Drew League winner, LA Unified, featuring Marcus Williams, Jordan Hamilton, Brandon Bowman, Hassan Adams and Bobby Brown, won their crown the next day.
Aug. 13: Perhaps facetiously, perhaps an NBA scoring star with genuinely hurt feelings (likely the former we hope), Nick Young via @NickSwagyPYoung tweeted:
So 60 can’t get me MVP in the @drewleague 30,40,41,43,45,30,60,35 each game I played
No word on the win-loss record in those games — the amount certainly doesn’t equal the presumed 12 total games played by the Young Grangers.
Aug. 17: Yahoo!’s Marc Spears reported that Minnesota’s Derrick Williams was replacing Young, and also wrote:
[Dino] Smiley added, because Young is upset about not being named MVP of the Drew League. That honor was given to Long Beach State senior guard Casper Ware, who was voted in by the fans via the Internet.
Note: Ware’s team posted an 8-3 regular season record and advanced to the second round of the playoffs, losing to Team COA.
Aug. 17: In addition, the Washington Post’s Michael Lee reported:
Smiley was hoping to get a final word from Young at Tuesday’s scrimmage, but Young did not show up, which greatly disappointed him. Williams is set to replace Young. “We’re going to waive him. He was kind of so-so on it,” Smiley said of Young, before joking, “He may end up playing with Goodman. We may put him over there. He’s got a little attitude.”
When told that word was spreading that he might not come back to Washington for the game, Young replied in a text message, “Yea I [don’t know].”
Aug. 17: Young tweeted:
Y’all think I really care about winning MVP @drewleague come on man I play n that 2 get good run and work on moves I practice #RyouSerious
Aug. 17: Sarah Schorno of NBC Washington tweeted:
Just got off the phone with #wizards @nickswagypyoung ‘s people. He is still in the lineup for Goodman/Drew this weekend. #endthepanic
Aug. 19: Young tweeted:
tryin 2 find Love in the Club #TheCuddler……… Green Door
Aug. 20: Michael Lee back on the scene:
A source close to Young said on Friday that he would not be able to compete for the Drew League, along with Wizards teammate JaVale McGee, because of “family stuff.”
“He’s not going to make it,” the source said.
Aug. 20: Nick Young doesn’t play in the game. He tweeted:
Great game Drew vs Goodman …. that was offensive foul at the end lol
And later on Aug. 20:
Just got tatted by the Homie @book_theartist good lookin #RichYoungFam
Aug. 20: “Family Stuff.”
Aug. 21: In a post-game blog post, the Washington Posts Michael Lee wrote:
[Miles] Rawls also called out Wizards guard Nick Young, who backed out at the last minute. He said “word on the street” was that Young “boycotted” the game because he didn’t win Drew League MVP after averaging 40.5 points per game. “Where they do that at?” Rawls asked.
Young disputed that explanation on his Twitter account and McGee, who is filming an Internet show with Young, explained that it might have been the result of poor planning more than anything else. “He was supposed to come, but he didn’t,” McGee said. “He tried to get his ticket too late. And it was too expensive. He figured it wasn’t worth it.”
For what is surely not the final final word, but what shall, perhaps, be the most authoritative word, we turn to Drew League commissioner Dino Smiley after Capital Punishment:
Essentially, it sounds like the miscommunication was that the lines of availability were one-sidedly nil; and Young just needs to pick up the phone. Surely Smiley would have done what he could to get another NBA baller on his team (including evidently placing calls to Young’s father, sidekick and photographer). But alas, Smiley says, Nick is still one of theirs and that he would be welcome back on Team Drew for the rematch in Los Angeles that they are working to schedule for September 10. We can only imagine.
“It wasn’t no big deal, all he had to do was show up,” Smiley ultimately concluded.
To some degree, Young mean-mugging in a faux-trying hipster outfit could have been a tell-tale sign of the state of affairs.
Via a profile on Nick in Edge Magazine: