Los Angeles Clippers: Charles Barkley

Nick Young isn't totally comfortable yet

March, 28, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- There are a few signs in unexpected places, signs that the Clippers' newest acquisition isn't yet comfortable in his new digs with his new teammates.

Late in the first quarter of Wednesday night's game against the Phoenix Suns at the Staples Center, Nick Young is fouled when making his first shot attempt of the contest. He steps to the line and the Staples Center crowd chants his self-appointed nickname -- "Swagy P" -- causing the 26-year-old guard to smile at the line and get "thrown off," in his words. He makes only one of two at the line.

Then, at halftime, with just that one point and an 0-for-4 shooting record to his name in 10 minutes of play, Young changes shoes in the locker room. He switches from the Nike Air Max CB34 -- modeled after Charles Barkley -- to the Nike Kobe VII System Supreme, from high-tops to low-tops.

Young feels better in the second half and finishes with nine points in 25 minutes on 3-of-11 shooting, including a made 3-pointer. But he admits after the game he still has much to improve on here with the Clippers.

"I'm thinking too much out there a little bit," he said Wednesday, after a 103-86 Clippers win. "I'm just trying to get comfortable and relax."

Sometimes, he appears almost too comfortable.

Late in the fourth quarter Wednesday night, Young passes the ball from the corner to Chris Paul, who immediately feeds it back to him. Young stalls for a second before realizing he's wide open and streaks to the basket for a dunk and foul.

He said afterward he didn't know what to do until Paul screamed at him with directions.

And that's always been the rap on Young -- supreme shooting ability and usable athleticism but below-average on-court awareness. The problem is he's shooting only 36 percent in his seven games with the Clippers thus far and not proving effective in any other facet of the game.

Griffin to play in Rising Stars Challenge

February, 8, 2012
Clippers forward Blake Griffin is still undecided about defending his slam dunk title, but he will play in the Rising Stars Challenge during NBA All-Star Weekend.

Griffin played on the rookie team during last year’s game and scored 14 points and grabbed three rebounds in 13 minutes. Griffin played fewer minutes than any player in the game because he was also competing in the dunk contest and playing in the All-Star game. His minutes will likely be limited again this year regardless of his participation in the dunk contest, as he is starting in this year’s All-Star game.

The participants in the Rising Stars Challenge, which will be played Feb. 24 in Orlando, were selected by the NBA’s assistant coaches, with each team submitting one ballot.

A new format is being implemented for the game this year. Instead of having the rookies play the sophomores, both groups will be mixed on teams.

Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal will serve as the general managers of the opposing teams, each with nine-man rosters, drafted from the aforementioned pool.

Kenny Smith will serve as the honorary commissioner for the draft and Ernie Johnson will host the Rising Stars Challenge Draft on Thursday, Feb. 16.