The calculated risk that came with signing Nick Young in July is looks, at least for now, like more sheer risk than cogent calculation for the Warriors.
It’s early, only two weeks since training camp opened, but Young has done nothing to distinguish himself as the valuable addition the defending champions expected when they gave him their $5.2 million mid-level exception to provide scoring off the bench.
The most discouraging aspect of this is that most, if not all, of the blame falls directly at the feet of Young, a 6-foot-7 veteran guard who has not shot well in practice and, through two preseason games, is 5-of-15 from the field.
“He came in a little heavy,” coach Steve Kerr said of the 32-year-old who spent the last four seasons with the Lakers. “And I think as he rounds into shape, will shoot it better and better.”
Though Kerr is displeased with the general conditioning of the team, for him to specifically cite Young, even in relatively mild terms, indicates a level of staff disappointment that likely has been relayed to the player.
Understand, now, no coach ever wants to go to a player new to the team and express dismay about conditioning, for it calls into question the player’s professionalism and commitment.
That Young left the game Thursday after sustaining a right hip contusion during a 111-97 preseason loss to the Timberwolves and is listed as doubtful for the rematch on Sunday will make it difficult for him to get appreciably better anytime soon.
Young says he feels his Lakers-to-Warriors transition should be made easier by the fact that the system run by Lakers coach Luke Walton, the former Warriors assistant, is a lot like that in which he now finds himself.
The Warriors signed Young after studying video and analyzing his effectiveness and consulting with Walton. They concluded that his length and 3-point shooting (40.4 percent last season) wouldn’t hurt their defense while improving a bench that last season was 29th in the NBA in 3-point makes.
The regular season begins in 10 days. Young is well behind the curve and can’t catch up too soon. He likely will be ready, eventually, to play the 10-16 minutes per game the Warriors will ask.
But to be fully ready on Oct. 17, when the Rockets come to Oracle Arena, he’d have to rapidly improve his conditioning. Right now he’s in no position to do so.