Nick Young: X-Factor In The West

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — Nick Young doesn’t have a great reputation around the league.

He’s an inefficient scorer who doesn’t pass, he’s not a very good defender and when Deron Williams said that John Wall wasn’t “playing with the smartest guys,” he might have had Young in mind.

On Monday, as the Clippers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder for the third time this season, Young had a breakout game offensively, scoring 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting.

Eric Patten of has the story from L.A.:

Young made his first two shots, Monday, though, a step back jumper along the baseline and a 3-pointer 36 seconds later. It seemed to set the tone for him for the rest of the first half. He made another jumper early in the second quarter and drew a foul on Daequan Cook with a pump fake on a jumper, earning two free throws.

“I was pleased with Nick because his first couple shots, he didn’t settle,” Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. “We’ve been talking about when guys are running at him [using] that one dribble pull-up that he’s really good at.

“I thought he did a good job, not only making shots, but his selection of shots, I thought was good.”

Since joining the Clippers last month, Young is shooting just 38 percent. He’s taken 171 shots and has exactly 10 assists in 444 minutes. But the Clippers are 13-5 with Young in uniform and they’ve been pretty good — especially defensively — with Young on the floor.

Clippers efficiency since March 18

Young on/off floor MIN Pace OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg +/-
On floor 445 91.4 104.9 99.5 +5.3 +52
Off floor 424 91.0 106.4 102.9 +3.4 +30

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

While Young may not be a lock-down defender, he does give the Clippers a lot more length on the wings than they had before the trade. But interestingly, L.A. has been better defensively with Young at the three than at the two.

Take a look at the numbers with both Young and Chris Paul on the floor …

Clippers efficiency with Paul and Young

Lineup MIN Pace OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg +/-
Paul + Young at 2 106 91.7 116.3 111.5 +4.8 +10
Paul + Young at 3 157 90.7 105.7 97.9 +7.8 +39
Paul + Young total 263 91.2 109.9 103.5 +6.4 +49

The Clippers have played 86 minutes with Paul, Young and Caron Butler on the floor, allowing 111 points per 100 possessions. But that combo hasn’t played more than a few minutes together in any game since March 30th, so they’ve been using Young more at the three (backing up the starter Butler) of late.

Ryan Gomes, who was backing up Butler before Young arrived, was one of the Clippers’ most ineffective players this season. So Young gives L.A. an upgrade even if he’s not shooting well.

And if he is shooting well, Young will obviously be a big X-factor in the Western Conference playoffs.


  1. dane says:

    It seems like with the Clippers Young, to a certain extent, has been more careful not to get trigger happy–especially when he is having a bad shooting night. He definitely doesn’t have the green light like he did in Washington but regardless he is a player that they need when their offense becomes completely stagnant, which it does. So when the offense is stagnant he is actually an important player.

  2. imbalanced says:

    Will probably be like a junior J.R. smith for them

  3. allaroundballer says:

    give him a shot, when butler off he’ll be the third punch

  4. dropdimes15 says:

    clips are a nasty squad now don’t forget what cp3 does in the playoffs and this is the best supporting cast he’s ever had. young off the bench is great if he’s hot he’s a game changer if he’s not he doesn’t necessarily need to log big minutes. however the loss of chauncey will eventually stunt their playoff run, next year they will be a huge threat after solidifying the team chemistry and gaining playoff experience together. my x factor for the playoffs is randolph, if he can return to old form by playoff time youve got a grizz team that has improved individually, and with a healthy rudy they have a real shot at winning it all. but they need z bo back

  5. darqknight says:

    nick young.. the wild horse..

  6. BG to Dj says:

    When the clippers 1st made the move for young I was unsure if it would work with him as a supposed starter but since he is coming off the bench this makes a lot more sense:You have K-mart,Young,Bledsoe and williams coming off the bench which potentially could give 30-70 points as 2nd unit which will help if the starters can’t score.Young should get about 15-25 mins per game come playoffs and has proven he can go off when needed to help the scoring out when needed.

  7. joe says:

    what bugs me is that the wizards traded young and mcgee due to their ”smarts”, and now they’re in (denver pending) the playoffs, and john wall just has to sit around until next season. that’s messed up

  8. Al says:

    Nick is playing under control and his game will come – think of this: if the Clips had gotten either JR Smith or JCrawford…. Young better upside and, surprise! more coachable.

  9. MTL187 says:

    Some of ya’ll sound COMPLETELY LOST in this convo right now .. Nick Young is a YOUNG talent ready to Explode just need a Good Coach nd a few veterans to show him the ropes. Playing with the Wizards was a joke. Havent you seen John Wall lately ..the mans playing his heart out buh still no progress. Nick Young I think can help the clippers alot around the perimeter, you got him an Caron on da wing, Keyon, Blake and DeAndre down low, CP3 trowing lobs to his BIG mans, finding the cutter (Caron), spot up shooter (Young) thats a pretty tough AND well BALANCED team to beat on Offense and Defense. Look at Nick Young as a liability. if he plays good I say he gets 15 mins on the floor during the playoffs , if not bench him your not losing much, the way I look at it, their just pushing for Nick Young to bring some scoring puch around the perimeter, strech the Defense so more room for CP3 to operate.. not that he needs any more space.

  10. charles says:

    It turns out that rather than being a tall shooting guard, he’s a underweight small forward. I think that’s a better position for him in terms of using his speed on slower small forwards and using his length against their strength on defense.

  11. lil dice says:

    nick young is actually an underated defender

  12. Jones says:


  13. cp3 best pg hands down says:

    you’re crazy i’d take the 6”7 scoring machine anyday over the undersized gunner 2 guard

  14. Slider821 says:

    This HT blog article should be about the contribution Kenyon Martin as given the Clips instead of Nick Young.

  15. ace says:

    Nick young was horrible on the wizards, yes he scored 30 points here and there, but he played absolutely no defense and he was extremely lazy. jordan crawford is 100 times bette then him

    • Dominic says:

      Ace… point made

    • John says:

      Wasn’t lazy at all. He always showed up to training camp in great shape, unlikely several Wizards(Blatche). He’s also a good ISO defender. And JCraw is an even bigger chucker than Young was on the Wiz

  16. john says:

    very nice game….for ever young….

  17. Belizeboy says:

    Young doesn’t have a great history in the NBA but look at his past team and the way they ALL played. McGee was the laughing stock of the league until he got traded to Denver, and now I don’t even see him on the blooper reels. Young is definitely an X-factor for the Clippers and I’m sure Chirs Paul will motivate him to play better.

    • Larry says:

      Nick, Javanese and Blatche were the only idiots on the wizards.

      McGee hasn’t done anything quite as dumb in Denver but he also can’t stay on the floor there despite that huge competition from kostsa koufos and mozgov

      Wiz are left with a bunch of hardworking hustling players now. Haven’t gelled yet, but holy god the future looks better without nick and javale snorting cinnamon

    • Rip Greenfire says:

      The guys are young and immature, they needed a great coach (for McGee, George Karl) or a great leader (for Young, Chris Paul) to whip them into shape. I think in a couple of years these boys will become some talented players in the right hands.

  18. tim says:

    Somehow Nick Young always play good aginst OKC. The game was same old story., OKC leading at the half, Wwestbrook was trying to take over at the beginning of the third quarter leaving everybody else cold handed and the game is over….

  19. you got to be kidding nick young wont even see the floor in the playoffs

    • Mabs says:

      obviously he will. Please, people stop commenting if you know nothing about basketball.

    • Tim says:

      You tripping? Who else will play? Simmons? LOL
      Young will log 20-25 minutes a game, for sure.

    • kobe says:

      when ur blog name ends in indianapolis u better know the game…nick young is a gunslinger who can get hot and torch u..he wil play about 25 min a game in playoffs..playoff bball is half court bball and the clips will need him .cmon kevin ..

      • so all of you agree nick young is the x factor in the playoffs for the clippers or maybe you mean big shot billups will be nick young will not be consistent in the playoffs he will be a non factor and yes i know baseketball ive been watchin way before nick young was a x factor, the clippers will go as far as the bigs take them

      • Dias says:

        Kevin are you sure you know the game? You don’t even know how to write the game. – baseketball – that’s funny. Nobody said Young was an x-factor, they just said he was going to play. And of course he will play. He could be very useful. He opens the floor more.

      • Alphina says:

        Baseketball… isnt that a 90’s movie? maybe thats why!