Lakers’ Luke Walton offers Nick Young tough love with a soft touch

August 26, 2020 | | Post a Comment

first_imgWalton has often called on Young to elevate his defensive play and ensure consistent ball movement, and he has listened. Former Lakers coach Byron Scott often preached those same tenets to Young the previous two seasons without as much success. While Young averaged a combined 10.35 points on only 35.26 percent shooting under Scott, Young often found Scott’s feedback offputting. He disliked Scott for frequently criticizing him publicly, making a big deal over his goofy personality and fining him for arriving late for pre-game warmups.“He’s a players’ coach,” Young said of Walton. “He knows how to relate to players. He’s not stuck in his ways. He doesn’t hold grudges.”Instead, Walton has found Lakers forward Julius Randle and Young as the most receptive thus far toward handling constructive criticism.“You just got to talk to Nick. You got to be honest with him when you see him messing around and encourage him to be him,” Walton said. “I just point out what he’s doing, whether it’s good or bad. Then he normally is pretty good at correcting himself.”Kicking itThe visit to Portland usually meant Walton would visit the city’s Nike store. Unlike what happened during his 11-year NBA career, Walton abstained from making the trip this time around.“It was zero degrees outside,” Walton said. “I love the city of Portland, but I did not leave the hotel once.” PORTLAND >> The moments have become running gags between Lakers coach Luke Walton and guard Nick Young.“I joke with him when I see him running out the door and ask if he got his shots in,” Walton said, chuckling. “At first, he tried to lie. Now he just says, ‘No’ and keeps on moving.”Young sounded equally amused with the exchanges.“I’ll say, ‘My bad,’” Young said, smiling. “He knows when I’m trying to slack off.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Walton has cut Young some slack about some of his work because of his recently strong play. Walton has also consistently engaged Young, asking for improvement without making him feel disrespected.The Lakers entered Thursday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center with Young averaging 14.8 points while shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 44.9 percent from 3-point range. He ranks sixth overall in the NBA in 3-point shooting, and has shot 56 percent from the perimeter in the last nine games.“With the way Nick shoots, I don’t need to tell him to stay after,” Walton said. “He stays after every practice and gets his shot up. But after shootaround, he gets out as soon as it’s over. But he’s shooting the ball at a pretty high level.”Walton has hardly allowed Young to do as he pleases, though.“He’s been on me and demands a lot,” Young said of Walton. “I take that as him being confident in me. A coach believes in you and wants you to do all these things that you’re not used to a coach telling you to do.”last_img

Want to say something? Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *