When he was coming off the bench as a sixth man, Nick Young was the Wizards’ best, and seemingly only, offensive weapon. He scored 37 of the team’s 167 points in the first two games against New Jersey and Atlanta and his jump shot had a magnetic attraction to the net.
But after being inserted back in the starting five, Young quickly caught the missed shot flu that has been plaguing the rest of his teammates for most of this offensively inept start to the season.
Through his first six quarters with the first unit, Young actually had the worst case, as he missed 14 of his first 16 shot attempts — settling for difficult turnaround fadeaways and rushing contested shots — and contributed just five points.
“I came out forcing things a little bit, trying to make things happen. Trying to get things going,” Young said. “Just being back out there, trying to get back in, trying to be a starter and trying to pick my spots out there.”
Young finally calmed down in the second half of the Wizards’ 94-86 loss to Boston on Sunday at Verizon Center, as he scored 16 of his 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting.
Since returning to the starting unit, though, Young has discovered that he has more responsibility than just attacking the rim, because he shares the floor with other scoring options. He also can’t abuse second-line players and score at will, because defenses have game-planned on ways to slow him down early.
”Coming off the bench, I was one of the main scorers and most of the plays was for me. And as a starter, I got to adjust. But no excuses, really,” Young said. “It’s going to get there. When it gets there, it’s going to be over for people.”
Young shot 57.1 percent (12 of 21) in the first two games and put Jordan Crawford on alert that the starting shooting guard job was going to be his the moment Coach Flip Saunders and his staff felt that he was ready to play extended minutes.
After Crawford displayed some immaturity while taking some questionable long three-pointers in the closing minutes of the Wizards’101-83 loss in Atlanta, Young was given back the spot he had only lost because of injury last season and with his contract situation unsettled until he had missed all of training camp and a preseason game.
Crawford had his best game in Milwaukee, where he scored 24 points — and surpassed his total from the first two games in the first five. “As a starter, you’re getting their best shot. They are setting up to defend you. Those are things that you have to make adjustments,” Saunders said.
Young was confident that he will find the groove he had last season, when he started 40 games and led the team in scoring at 17.4 points per game. “If I miss, you got to let me get my shot going. I’m going to keep shooting until it starts going in,” he said.