Sixers player evaluation: Nick Young

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Sixers player evaluation: Nick Young

Nick Young

Position: Guard

Status: Unrestricted free agent

Signature game of 2012-13
In mid-December, Young scored a season-high 30 points against the Lakers at Wells Fargo Center. He took 23 shots that evening, 12 of which were three-pointers. In the locker room afterward, Young gave a grinning interview about his offensive prowess. The Sixers had just lost by double digits.

Young in 2012-13
Young seems to believe in a literal interpretation of his job description. He’s a shooting guard. That’s pretty much all he is -- a guard who shoots. He has never appeared willing nor capable of doing much more.

Young averaged 10.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists. That last figure is laughably low for a guard who played 23.9 minutes per game -- and yet it was the most assists he’s averaged in a single season in his entire career. That tells you a lot about Young.

So, he’s a shooting guard. Except for a guard who shoots so much his production was mostly useless. Consider his splits:

In wins: Averaged 7.8 field goal attempts and 9.2 points. Hit 41.9 percent from the field and 30.9 percent from three-point range.

In losses: Averaged 10.1 field goal attempts and 11.6 points. Hit 41 percent from the field and 38.8 percent from three-point range.

Notice that he scored more and shot better from distance in losses. And this might be the most damning stat of all: Of his 10 best scoring outings, the Sixers lost seven.

That’s Nick Young. He’s a guy who puts up points, often in garbage time or in defeat.

Here are some more (not-so) fun facts about Young: He took 542 shots to score 628 points. While that’s not quite a one-to-one ratio, it’s really close. Any coach or hoops observer on any level -- pro, college, high school, or even rec league -- will tell you that a one-to-one shot-to-point ratio is a glaring sign of bad basketball.

Not surprisingly, Young’s player efficiency rating was just 217th in the NBA. And his minus-3.1 Net48 (a calculation of the team’s average plus-minus with him on the floor for a full game) further proves that the Sixers were better off with him on the bench.

Young missed 23 games -- four because of a toe injury and seven more because of an ankle issue. And the other 12 games? Those were DNP-CDs, otherwise known as Did Not Play -- Coach’s Decision. As sports-related acronyms go, nothing could be a bigger indictment.

Which brings us to our final mind-melting Young fact: He made $6 million last season. That means the Sixers paid him $878,048.78 to sit on the bench and watch during those 12 DNP-CDs.

When you’re done sobbing, be sure to share the tissues with your neighbor.

Prospectus
Young plays little or no defense. Depending on the day and the opponent, he’s a poor and/or unwilling passer. He doesn’t rebound well. And he has to shoot far too many times to post his unspectacular per-game point total.

Beyond that, even for a shooting guard, Young relies too much on his jumpshot, which is wildly inconsistent. A staggering 88 percent of his shots were jumpers. Only 10 percent were taken in close, and only two percent were dunks. Because he doesn’t get near the basket or draw contact very often, Young averaged just 2.2 free throw attempts per game.

To put it in Josh Harris parlance, the ROI on Young was almost nonexistent. Unless Young repays the $6 million the Sixers essentially gave him as a gift, there’s no way the organization should consider re-signing him.

On Nick Young
“I can play defense. I like offense.”

--Nick Young, January 15, 2013

“I told him when we got him that my goal as his coach was to make him a more polished player. Not ‘Swaggy P’ and the act, but a player.”

--Doug Collins, January 31, 2013

Dario Saric halts slump with 'best game as a 76er'

Dario Saric halts slump with 'best game as a 76er'

Dario Saric came into the NBA knowing his rookie season would be one of ups and downs. He would have successes based on his talent and struggle because of the newness of the league and matchups.

Saturday’s performance against the Celtics was one of those highlight nights. Saric scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, both tying career-highs, for his third double-double. He was efficient in his performance, playing 27 minutes off the bench in the Sixers' 107-106 loss.

“I thought that was his best game as a 76er,” Brett Brown said.

Saric had struggled the night before against the Magic. He barely made a dent in 16 minutes, posting just two points (1 for 5 from the field) without a single rebound. The poor showing was on his mind Saturday, as he got ready for the second game of the back-to-back. He went in early to get up extra shots, met with coaches, studied film and thought about the matchup throughout the day.

“I prepared a little bit more for this game,” Saric said. “After I have some bad rhythm of five or six, maybe, games. Now I concentrate more. I try to give my best, try to play my best, try to think before everything happens.”

Saric showed his aggressiveness in crunch time in the fourth quarter, when he scored seven points and five rebounds in eight minutes. He nailed a three to cut the Celtics' lead to 92-91 with 4:28 to play. Then with 1:09 remaining, Saric’s free throws cut the Celtics' lead to two points. On the other end of the court, he snagged the rebound off an Isaiah Thomas miss and scored a game-tying layup from Jahlil Okafor.  

“He played great,” Okafor said. “He’s working hard every day, getting used to the NBA process. It was good to see hard work paying off for him.”

Saric has been adjusting to new roles throughout the season. He was thrown into the starting power forward spot when Ben Simmons was injured, and then moved to the bench when the team acquired Ersan Ilyasova. On Saturday, Brown also played Saric at small forward in Robert Covington’s (knee) absence, a shift the Sixers may try again.

“He’s a good teammate,” Brown said. “He’s biding his time. He understands he’s a rookie. Incrementally, he’ll be given these opportunities. Tonight he did and he responded and you’re seeing continued growth.”

Saric still is early in his NBA career, and Saturday's showing was a game he can look back on and study for the rest of the season. 

“I feel like tonight … you’d walk away and say, ‘Shoot, that’s a hell of a player for playing 20 games in the NBA and he did what he just did against a hell of a team,’” Brown said. “I’m proud of what we saw all over the place from Dario.”

Sixers' '66-'67 team reflects on success of 'best team ever'

Sixers' '66-'67 team reflects on success of 'best team ever'

As part of their “Salute Saturday” series, the Sixers honored the 1966-67 championship team at halftime of their 107-106 loss the Celtics on Saturday.

Fifty years after winning the title, the success of the squad (which went 68-13 in the regular season) still resonates with those representing the Sixers today. After all, they are the group Wilt Chamberlain described as “the best team ever.” 

“It’s just part of the history of this city and the organization,” said Brett Brown, who has established a relationship with Billy Cunningham through practice visits and emails. “There was a toughness with that team that he personified and the city sort of reflects. It’s stuff you hear me talk about all the time how you want our team to reflect the spirit of the city. That team did it.”

Prior to their tribute ceremony, members of the team reflected on their run in which they beat the San Francisco Warriors for the title. 

On Wilt Chamberlain
“Wilt was such a dominant figure, not only as a basketball player, but he’s almost bigger than the game,” Matt Goukas said. “He played so well, he was such a good team player – he started really passing the ball right around that time --and that enabled great scorers like Hal (Greer) and Billy and Chet Walker to do their thing, and Wilt was very happy to give them that leeway.”.

On fond memories
“It was a team that we played well together and we lived as a family and that’s what made it so good for us," Greer said. "A lot of fun, a lot of fun. We missed the next year, but 68-13 is not bad at all.”

“It’s hard to forget a situation like that where we had such a terrific team and the season went so quickly, we won so many games and then of course winning a championship,” Goukas said. “As a first year player I said, ‘This is the way it’s supposed to be, I guess.’ But of course I never won another championship as a player, but we had such a terrific group of guys and true professionals that for me as a rookie, Billy Melchionni as a rookie, we really benefited from guys like Hal Greer, Wally Jones and Harry Costello, they really showed us the way.”

On team chemistry
“It was very difficult times when you look at the sixties from a social aspect,” Cunningham said. “Martin Luther King was killed the following year we won the championship. Race relationships weren’t the best. And this time, which was just about half black-half white, I’m not even sure, it was never an issue. That’s the beauty I think of being on a team you know getting to know people, you judge them as an individual and nothing more than that.”

“I think it was our coach Alex Hannum, for one (that kept the team together),” Greer said. “And of course the big guy. He held us together most of the time, he could rebound, play defense, do it all.”