The Lakers are seven games away from seeing their second consecutive worst season in franchise history come to its merciful conclusion, and, for a variety of reasons, Byron Scott isn’t all that interested in seeing Nick Young try to return for any of those contests.
Young has been sidelined with a knee injury since late February, and has missed his team’s last 20 games.
But whether he ends up being healthy enough to go or not before the season is finished, Scott doesn’t anticipate him being able to get back on the floor the rest of the way.
“I haven’t even even talked to (head athletic trainer) Gary (Vitti), to be honest with you,” Scott said. “My feeling really is that, with seven games left, he probably won’t play the rest of the season. Like I said, the last report that I did get on him — which was when we were on the road — was that he really wasn’t making much progress.” …
“Being out as long as he’s been out with seven games to go, I don’t really see how he can probably play,” Scott said. “He’s got to get back into game condition and things like that. So I don’t think there’s a chance he’s going to play in the next week.” …
“It’s just a matter of him getting healthy … and understanding going into next year his priorities need to be a little different,” Scott said. “He’s a home run or a strikeout type guy on the offensive end. Just like I told him: He has to elevate his game.
“He has to grow as a basketball player if he wants to continue to play in this league for a long time. He has to get better moving without the ball; being able to defend people a little bit better; and be a better off-the-ball defender as well.”
Scott is a realist for the most part, at least when it comes to evaluating the overall talent level of his players. He and Young have clashed at times over Young’s style of play, which is to some extent completely understandable.
But what’s indisputable is the fact that no good can come of Young returning this season, in any capacity.
The Lakers already have earned wins over the Sixers (twice) and the Timberwolves in their last eight games, which could potentially be damaging to their chances of retaining their pick in this summer’s draft.
L.A. only gets to keep the pick if it lands in the top five, and beating up on other bottom feeders only works against that cause.
Adding Young back into the fold would similarly work against that unseemly but necessary goal, which may be at least part of the reason that Scott is so eager to rule Young out for the remainder of the season.