Nick Young is arguably the NBA’s most happy-go-lucky person, always smiling and joking around. But even Swaggy P’s spirit appears to have been broken by the 25-52 Los Angeles Lakers. Per the LA Daily News:
The towel draped over Nick Young’s head, masking something that very few have ever seen during his lone season with the Lakers.
He cried. He cursed. He winced.
The Lakers’ 120-97 loss Sunday to the Clippers in a designated road game at Staples Center officially put this year’s purple and gold team tied with the 1974-75 squad boasting the worst record in franchise history in Los Angeles. The Lakers (25-52) would have to go undefeated through their five remaining games simply to tie the record held by the 1974-75 team (30-52). Meanwhile, Young felt soreness in his left knee while diving for a loose ball late in the third quarter. It took him a while to stand up on his own before eventually limping to the bench and then placing the towel over his face.
“A little bit of everything that’s going on,” Young said in explaining his emotions. “Pain, everybody getting hurt, just how the season’s been a little frustrating.”
Yet, amid the negativity, Young vowed that he will play through both the sprained knee and the sprained left ankle he experienced earlier this week.
“I’m just going to go out with the ship and hang in there with the guys,” Young said. “It is what it is. But I’m trying to fight until the end. We only have five games left.”
Young has become a fan favorite for reasons including his scoring punch (averaging 17.2 points per game, second best on the Lakers), his local roots (former Cleveland High and USC product) and his energetic personality. But Young faces uncertainty this offseason since he plans to opt out of his $1.2 million player option in hopes of finding a more longer and lucrative deal, preferably with the Lakers.
Young’s intentions stem more from wanting to cement his stature here and earning a salary more reflective of his market value than to simply pursue the most lucrative deal. So that puts Young in a position wanting to show his dedication to the Lakers.
That’s why he returned from a 16-game absence stemmed from a bone bruise in his left knee even if he still nursed considerable pain.
“Deep inside I wanted to come back regardless,” Young said. “I didn’t want to end my year just being hurt like that. I wanted to fight with these guys until the end.”