As Wizard fans know, Young Sushi was a surprise exclusion from the rotation, being benched in the season opener, and receiving limited minutes in the past 2 games. This interview was conducted 48 hours before the opening tipoff, and 24 hours before Nick was told by Flip Saunders that he would not feature in the rotation. I have not spoken to Nick since the season opener, and he has managed to avoid 'normal' media interviews about the subject of his playing time.
DCLS: So what do you know about your role in the team now that the season is about to start? It looks like Mike Miller will be the starter at shooting guard, but any idea where you fit in the rotation, starting, 6th man…?
Nick Young: Yeah something like that. Mike Miller is a great player, I didn’t know he was that good until playing with him, like everything he can do here............You know, it’s up and down (where I fit in the rotation). I gotta bring a little consistency and be a spark, that energy, that young guy that they need. It’s time to get buckets son, time to get buckets.
DCLS: Oh, don’t say that, you know Ricky Davis's motto is “Get Buckets” and you don't want to be anything like him.
NY: For real? Aw, now I can’t say that, I didn’t know that.
DCLS: It sounds like Deshawn and Foye are gonna play in the rotation, but don’t get jealous when I say that.
NY: Aw, naw, naw, we should be good though. Gilbert is playing great.
DCLS: Is Mike Miller going to change his shoes?
NY: Naw, I think they're too comfortable. He's heard it all so far, so I don't think he's gonna change it.
DCLS: How are you feeling going into the first game?
NY: Excited, you know it’s a new system, new everything. I think we go a chance of doing good this year. We can be that spark DC needs. DC needs somebody now, it was hard for us last year, and it’s hard for the Redskins this year, so you need something. The Caps are pretty good.
DCLS: How do you feel about Antawn’s injury? 10 games is not a short amount of time and he's not exactly a young guy.
NY: Oh, he’s out for 10 games, I thought it was sooner than that, but he’s been looking good. But he’s still Antawn, you know he’s Cyber-Tawn, so he can get it done. He’s vintage, Cyber-Tawn and Vintage-Tawn (are nicknames for him). Yeah, he’s an old man, you know.
DCLS: Most predictions have you as the 5th or 6th seed in the East and 1st or 2nd round of the playoffs.
NY: I can see that, but I think we can do better, we can do better. It depends how we’re playing, but I think we can do better. Definitely not the 1st round, we’re going past the 1st round.
Young Sushi's comments about his playing time indicate he was a bit concerned about his spot in the rotation before learning his fate, but I can assure you that he had no idea he was about to be benched.
Another part that concerns me is Nick still seems to think 'getting buckets' is his key to success in the NBA. He notes consistency as an issue, which is true, but Nick's problem is that he is just a scorer, and not a great rebounder, defender, or passer. He even likes being called "Young Sushi" because he is raw, which is exactly his problem; 3 years into his career, raw talent is not enough, he needs to become a complete player. Even if Flip Saunders' message has been heeded, Nick's limited playing time means that he will have limited opportunities to improve his game and is fighting an uphill battle.
That said, we at the DCLS are ecstatic that Nick will be back with the Wiz next season. He is a great guy with personality, and despite his tough situation and early struggles, we have faith that he will come through and be the spark the Wiz may need.
(Image courtesy of nba.com)