It’s been a slow start to the year for Nick Young. The veteran shooting guard came to the Golden State Warriors – his fifth NBA team – in hopes of playing an important role on a championship contender. Yet with opening night just a week away, the man they call Swaggy P has been plagued by an injury, and a case of the out-of-shapes.
It’s going to be a bit of a journey for the sharpshooter, but then again, Young knows a thing or two about tough roads and long journeys. In a terrific feature for The Ringer, Katie Baker reveals parts of Young’s story and journey that most of us knew little to nothing about.
Baker covers a fair chunk of Young’s difficult upbringing, as well as his modern, misunderstood, hilarious escapades. She also discusses some of the key differences that made the Warriors’ organization stand out to young, as well as his good friend JaVale McGee’s role in bringing Swaggy P to the Bay.
But above all else, she covers his basketball story:
“He had a very difficult upbringing,” Tim Floyd, who now coaches at UTEP but previously coached Young at USC during his sophomore and junior seasons, says in a phone conversation. “He lost a brother at a young age. He was proud to be at the school, loved the school, and I thought was absolutely one of the most talented guys that I ever coached at the college level.” After Young’s sophomore year, he told Floyd he was interested in going pro. Floyd says he reacted by telling Young, “I’d never hold you back, but let’s make sure we’re not jumping into a swimming pool that doesn’t have any water in it.” He brought Young into his office, dialed an NBA general manager on speakerphone, and asked for his thoughts. They weren’t encouraging. “We hung up, and I said, Nick, should we make more calls? He said, ‘No, coach, that’s enough.’”
It’s a terrific read, and one that will make it even easier to root for the Dubs’ jovial new bench piece.
It’s the Warriors, and everyone else
It probably won’t surprise you to know that every credible list of preseason power rankings has the Warriors on top. I remember the days of avidly reading every power rankings article I could find, seeing if the Dubs could break into the top 25, or – gasp! – the top 20. Now, most power rankings are a little boring; what’s there to say?
Over at ESPN, Zach Lowe broke the monotony by grouping teams in tiers, rather than using a strict ranking system. The top tier is, not surprisingly, “Tier of their Own: Golden State Warriors”.
While Lowe doesn’t expand on the Warriors, he has a fantastic in-depth breakdown of the next tier, which he dubbed “Hoping for an Ankle Sprain”. Here, he covers what the four top contenders (Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, and San Antonio Spurs) have done to combat the Dubs, and why it most likely will fail.
The upgrades give most of them flexibility to toggle between potent big lineups and even more potent smaller ones -- a must-have malleability against Golden State. And yet they all remain massive underdogs.
The Warriors, when healthy, are almost a perfect team. They do not have an exploitable weakness, and if you have one, they are uniquely constructed -- among all teams, ever -- to exploit it. It's unfair.
Good luck, teams. Good luck.
Light Years on NBA TV
NBA TV has been running a segment called Open Court, which has been fabulous. In it, they’ve been talking with GMs about the process of building and maintaining NBA teams.
Last week they switched it up, and brought on a bunch of owners, including Joe Lacob. The whole episode is worth watching, but especially this clip about surrounding yourself with smart people.
I’d like to think that Mark Cuban, in the shot where he’s laughing, is making a “light years” joke in his head.
Steph Curry is pretty good . . . oh, I’m sorry, did you already know that?
Stephen Curry is already carving out his place as one of the greatest players in NBA history. Yet, despite that, people seem to try really hard to knock his abilities, accomplishments, and value.
Thankfully, Jonathan Tjarks is not one of those people. In an article for The Ringer, Tjarks discusses how Curry impacts the game in a way unlike any other player.
Curry is a different kind of black hole. He doesn’t attract the ball like a magnet. He attracts defenders.
Tjarks covers Curry’s selflessness, and gravity and . . . look, I’m not going to explain it to you, just read the article. It’s absolutely fantastic. Take a bathroom break at work if you have to, just read the article, and get pumped for the season.
Not just good, but fun
We know that the Warriors are the best team in the league. And, as fans, we also think they’re the most fun team in the league.
But we’re certainly not alone. In his annual League Pass ratings, ESPN’s Zach Lowe ranked the Warriors as the most fun team in the league. And, frankly, it’s not even close.
Lowe concluded the Dubs’ segment, and the article, with a pretty fitting quote:
I tried to fight the Warriors juggernaut. I failed. Now the other 29 teams get their turn.
Opening night is exactly one week away. Get hyped, Dub Nation.