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Putting the Swag Back in “Swaggy P”: Nick Young’s Rebirth in Philadelphia

As soon as the Sixers’ highly valuable sixth man, Lou Williams, signed with his hometown Atlanta Hawks, the Sixers knew that they needed to find someone who could do what Lou Williams did, and quick. Nick Young, who had been traded to the Los Angeles Clippers midway through last season, was a free agent. The men in the Sixers’ front office knew what they needed, and exactly who they wanted. Very soon after losing Lou Will to the Hawks, Nick Young was on his flight to Philadelphia after signing a one-year, $6 million contract with the Sixers. The Sixers thought that they had a highly enthusiastic, incredibly energetic, and electrifying scorer who could come off the bench for most games and even start when needed.

Young celebrates a three-pointer vs Memphis (via Tumblr).

Through most of the first half of this season, the Sixers have gotten the enthusiasm, energy, and “swag” that they signed up for. They did not get, however, get the offensive production that they had put down a couple million dollars for. From the beginning, Young played about as much defense as Lou Williams played. But, Lou was always a better player offensively.

This season, Lou Williams has avereaged close to fifteen points per game, while Nick Young was averaging under ten points per competition. With Young playing very little defense, and even less offense, head coach Doug Collins was very unhappy. Young was soon thrust into Doug Collins doghouse and playing as little minutes as he possibly could.

On a Saturday night in January, the Sixers beat the offensive-minded Houston Rockets by seven in a game where Nick Young was a DNP. After that, Swaggy P “woke up”.

The next game, the Sixers were trailing the Hornets by twenty to start the fourth quarter. Nick Young started the fourth quarter and played all the way through it. Even though he played only twelve minutes, Young tallied fourteen points on 6-9 shooting. The Sixers lost by eleven, but Nick Young led the Sixers to comeback to within four points.

At that point, Nick Young started to leave Doug Collins’ doghouse. With Jason Richardson having missed action with a nagging knee problem, Nick Young has taken his place as a starter, and has had a profound effect. In five consecutive games, the Sixers have had great first quarters, a rarity this season. They have also scored in the nineties (or close to it) in every games. The Sixers, who have been going on streaks of win one, lose three or four, have won 3 of their last 5 and are starting to cut down their deficit in the Eastern Conference playoff race. With Andrew Bynum getting incredibly close to a return, the Sixers could not ask for more from Swaggy P. For most of the season, he was taking every shot. As soon as he caught the ball, a shot was going up. His shot selection was terrible and he was struggling, which meant the Sixers were struggling.

Having escaped Doug’s doghouse, the Sixers’ players, coaching staff, fans, and Young himself are starting to regain confidence and trust in the energetic guard. He is playing good basketball. He is making all the right passes, hustling, playing good enough defense, and taking good shots. Over the last four games, Young has scored 71 points on 58 shots. He is only shooting 35%, so he is taking a lot of shots. But his shot selection is much better. He is taking less threes and not settling for as many jump shots. He is also taking less contested shots and looking for the best shot possible. The King of Swag is averaging 3.3 rebounds per game, and 2.5 assists per game. He is also averaging almost 18 points per game. He’s been one heck of an offensive presence.

Nick Young has died and come back to life in Philadelphia. I have much more confidence in him, the Sixers organization has confidence in him,and everyone should have more confidence in Young. All we can do is keep our faith in Nick and hope for the best. Of late, he has had a great response to the restored confidence. If we trust him and believe in him, he can only get better.

Welcome back, Nick “Swaggy P” Young.

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Tags: , , , , , ,

Categories: 76ers, Editorial

Author:Austin Krell

Sixers beat writer and NBA analyst

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