Nick Young insists he and his L.A. Lakers teammates are in it to win it.
While there are those who insist the Lakers have every reason to persist in a downward spiral that has seen them lose six straight and eight of their last nine games, namely the right to pick and choose from a draft pool that could include the likes of Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Julius Randle, Young insists he isn’t among them.
“I know some teams believe they should tank,” Young told ESPN. “I know a lot of teams out there are probably doing it, because they believe this draft is going to be one of the biggest drafts that’s happened in a long time.”
What’s more, with at least 11 of the Lakers’ 15 players slated to become free agent this summer, Young, who can opt out of his $1.2 million deal, insists the survival instincts for each and every one of teammates have kicked in as they go about the biz of trying to secure NBA futures for themselves beyond the next three games.
“I think we’re not going out there just to lose for the draft because I think we still want to be in the league,” Young added. “These guys are coming in to take our spots, so, I’m not about to give up for somebody else to come in and take my spot.”
At 25-54, the Lakers have suffered through their worse season in franchise history. For an organization so proud and storied, surely change is coming. All the struggle has left even coach Mike D’Antoni at a loss for words.
“He was just saying, ‘finish it out,'” guard Jodie Meeks said of D’Antoni’s daily instructions. “He was behind us. He knows that it’s been a tough year for him, our organization and everybody that’s affiliated with the Lakers, because nobody is used to losing this much. He was just saying it’s not fair the hand that we’ve been dealt some of the time, but he’s with us, he’s behind us and he still has confidence in us.”
Still, in some ways, Young insists he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s kind of sad to see this season be over. We had some good times,” Young said. “I believe, myself, just being a part of the Lakers is one of the best experiences I’ve had.”