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Should the Sixers Re-Sign Nick Young?

Who should stay and who should go? The Liberty Ballers staff goes down the roster, one by one, starting with Nick Young.

Sometimes, when you love someone, you have to let him go.
Sometimes, when you love someone, you have to let him go.

"Because you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!" -Revelation 3:16

The Sixers were not only bad last year, but lukewarm, kind of trudging through the slop in what was less a basketball season but a powerful argument for adopting a nihilistic worldview. With one exception.

Nick Young led the Sixers in joie de vivre in 2012-13, and no other statistical categories.

Young is a luxury on a good team and one of those guys who plays way too many minutes in way too many important situations on a bad one. At his best, he's what one might call a high-volume scorer, which is a polite way of saying that he's a grossly inefficient offensive player. And on a per-minute basis, Young was second on the team in scoring behind Jrue Holiday last year, so it's not like he was a complete black hole. Plus he gives you some size to throw at opposing guards on defense. Though nobody would confuse him with Bruce Bowen.

But he also only shot 41 percent from the floor and (in a moment at Basketball-Reference that almost made me crap my pants) has more turnovers in his career than assists.

Which, as an aside, really makes him fit in as part of the legacy of those late-2000s Washington Wizards teams. You know, the ones that were built around Gilbert Arenas jacking insane shots, and transitioned into a team built around Andray Blatche jacking insane shots, with a little bit of Antawn Jamison jacking shots and Juan Dixon jacking shots in between. A smorgasboard of jacked shots in a city that leaves you spoiled for choice when it comes to metaphors--do you go for the young lawyers and startup execs jacking shots in some club off Dupont Circle, or do you go with the ill-advised shots at Ford's Theatre?

The correct way to operate a Nick Young is to stick him on the second unit and see if he can pour in a quick three baskets in five trips down the floor against the other team's reserves. But when your scoring cupboard is as bare as the Sixers' was last year, you wind up using Swaggy P in all situations, whether he's feelin' it or not. And he'll keep shooting, even if he's not feelin' it.

It's hard to imagine that the Sixers are going to have a top-notch scorer in the starting lineup next year, and, well, we know what happens when you give Young significant minutes.

The biggest reason not to bring Young back, however, is not his game (which is perfectly adequate for the sparky bench scorer, or, as I like to call it, the Vernon Maxwell Role) but his contract situation. Young, being a free agent, will probably retain his value of $5.6 million a year, if he doesn't get a raise. Because that's how contracts work in sports.

So the question is less about whether Young is a useful player, which he is when used correctly, and more about whether you can get 10 points on nine field goal attempts in 24 minutes a night for less than you can get away with paying Young.

So it might just be his association with this Razorblade Suitcase of a season, but where there was once jubilation at Swaggy's gleeful disregard for the percentages and roguish, Han Solo approach to the game (Note: I'm not sure if anyone else actually enjoyed this. It might have just been me.) we started to tire of his antics once the losses began to mount. Nobody likes carefree and gleeful when the wheels are coming off.

So it is with a heavy heart that I say the Sixers should cut ties with Nick Young, not because he can't be useful, but because he's not going to be worth the contract he'll sign in the offseason. I wish him the best, wherever he goes. Which, for the record, you can totally come live with me if you want to, Nick. If you're reading this. We can stay up all night playing video games and I'll make popcorn and everything.


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