Shortly after noon Friday, Nick Young was formally introduced to the media as the newest member of the Los Angeles Lakers. The local kid, who went to the University of Southern California, was smiling ear to ear as he sat down in the Lakers’ press room. General Manager Mitch Kupchak introduced the player before posing for a photo with the newest Laker.
“We’re very happy to have Nick in Los Angeles. We think there’s a lot of playing time here in Los Angeles if he works hard and earns it,” Kupchak said. “We see him playing at the small forward and the guard position.”
“We know he can score,” Kupchak added.
Then, Young took his No. 0 gold jersey and grabbed a seat at the podium. His childish grin was impossible to deny. Like Jordan Farmar, Young took a hometown discount to come to the Lakers and return to Los Angeles.
“I’m happy to be a Laker,” Young started out. “I grew up in LA. It’s a dream come true.”
He admitted that he had modeled his game after Kobe Bryant.
“Growing up in LA, Kobe was one of my idols,” the 28-year-old stated proudly. Genuinely, Young appeared thrilled to be back home and walked out of the facility wearing his jersey over his polo shirt.
With the amnesty of Metta World Peace earlier in the week, Young expects to put in major minutes at the gaping hole at small forward. Currently, the only other player expected to fill that hole is rookie Ryan Kelly. Likely, Bryant will also play in that position when he returns from his Achilles injury. Still, the Lakers likely need to add a true forward that can help Jordan Hill and possible slide into a small forward role…ahem, Lamar Odom!
Young is a natural scorer, and the Lakers need more scoring on the court. His defense, though, needs to improve. Regardless, Kupchak and the Lakers are doing well to fill in the holes on the Lakers' roster, and so far, they’re receiving a better than passing grade considering the new restrictions of the collective bargaining agreement.
Welcome back to Los Angeles, Nick Young.