By Abdullah Sharif
As the Wizards approach the end of a very short training camp and prepare for an even shorter two- game preseason, one question that many of us have been losing sleep over still remains unanswered: Wheres Nick Young?
Well, Im not sure and, frankly, my sleeping habits have not been affected either.
While Young is probably hanging out in Laguna Beach weighing his options, his name continues to float on the restricted free agent market with only a few rumors surfacing about his possible landing spots. We know the Bulls expressed interest as did the Magic, Pistons and Pacers but to no avail.
Wizards General Manager Ernie Grunfeld has the option to formally negotiate a contract with Young instead of waiting for another team to sign him to an offer sheet, but instead has chosen to keep his focus on rebuilding, and doing so with the talent he has on hand.
My CSN colleague Brian Jackson is confident Young will eventually end up in red, white and blue, and I sure as all heck hope hes right. But if it turns out that Young does not return to DC, I am confident weve got the players ready to pick up the pieces, and theyve clearly made that apparent.
Im talking about Jordan Crawford and Roger Mason, Jr.
Crawford is kind of like that surprise acquisition on your fantasy team. You knew he was of some value, but wasnt expecting a lot of production. He was the roster filling rookie part of a blockbuster deal that brought in Mike Bibby from Atlanta as the Wizards new point guard. While Bibs was out of DC less than a week after the trade, Crawford found his game with his new team and saw his numbers substantially improve towards the end of the season. He averaged over 16 points in roughly 33 minutes a game.
This is what has kept many Wizards fans calm and content during Youngs absence and Crawford has continued to keep those thoughts instilled in our minds as this season approaches.
While Crawford has been preparing with the mindset of being the confirmed starting 2-guard, hes got insurance in veteran Roger Mason, Jr.
Mason is in his second stint with the Wiz Kids and has assured fans that hes improved his game since his previous tenure in DC. Ive personally seen the evidence of his words in practice, as he has looked crisp shooting the ball.
The Wizards and coach Flip Saunders would love to have Young back in the mix. His impeccable scoring talent would be an asset to any team. However, while we are in the midst of an extremely tight off-season and with the tip off of the 2012 season looming, the Wizards simply cannot afford to mismanage their players with the optimism that Young will return. Luckily, coach Saunders understands that and Crawford and Mason are giving him every reason to.