We should have known when the Golden State Warriors signed JaVale McGee nearly 300 days ago that they do not think outside the box so much as they have gotten rid of the box.
Thus, we should have known that their signing of Nick Young Wednesday makes perfect sense only in the context that the Warriors provided the perfect atmosphere for McGee to readjust his career arc upward.
Young, whose nickname Swaggy P almost certainly has been the most memorable thing about his NBA career, swallowed the Warriors’ mid-level exception (which is accountant-speak for one-seventh of Stephen Curry) and becomes the 58th Warrior in the “Bob Myers is drunk and he has Joe Lacob’s credit card” Era.
And while his gloriously bizarre history and playing-one-end-of-the-floor reputation would seem at first blush to be antithetical to who and what the Warriors are, McGee blow the last “What A Warrior Is Supposed To Be” template out of the water a year ago.
Thus, while we make no predictions about Young’s contributions in the upcoming season, we should also have no expectations to either side of the argument.
Young is 32, so he has no excuse if he doesn’t understand his place in the Warriors’ organizational chart. But he also knows that he has been on an almost unremitting stream of bad teams (his career win-loss record is a 203-433, a percentage of .317 which if he were a franchise would be the 53rd worst in the sport’s history) so this would be a new and potentially wondrous experience for him.
In short, the chances of him unnerving the Warriors with his Swaggy-P-itude are significantly less than the Warriors unnerving him by showing him what being on a relentlessly winning team can provide.
And while there are a multitude of places to find out how this fits in the Warriors’ tax structure, this is why the Young signing is fascinating. Not the notion that he is a reclamation project and Myers and coach Steve Kerr are natural-born redeemers, but that the Warriors have again looked past reputation by using their own internal culture as the antidote to whatever baggage Young may or may not bring from the Los Angeles Lakers’ hot-mess years.
Besides, they have decided they need the eggs – his shooting, to be exact. Plus, Lacob and Peter Guber have always wanted to add Kendrick Lamar to their list of front-row-seat-buying-A-list-entertainers.
Young, then, is a nearly riskless signing for a team that has established that it is stronger than the power of preconceptions. Sure, there could be salary cap ramifications for the Taxation Twelve if this doesn’t work, but again, that’s for the kids in Accounting to sweat.
Besides, after the magic they worked with McGee, and the magic he worked back, what’s Nick Young likely to do except find out what the rest of the NBA has already learned:
It’s nice to be a Warrior, and lousy to be chasing them.