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CLIPPERS FYI

Nick Young's versatility has been an asset

The USC alum has primarily been a shooting guard in his five NBA seasons, but Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro has begun using the 6-7 Young to back up small forward Caron Butler, with positive results.

April 16, 2012|By Broderick Turner
  • Clippers guard Nick Young tries for the steal against Mavericks guard Delonte West during a game earlier this month in Dallas.
Clippers guard Nick Young tries for the steal against Mavericks guard Delonte… (G.J. McCarthy / McClatchy-Tribune )

The versatility of Nick Young has allowed Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro to use him at shooting guard and small forward.

Young is a natural shooting guard, but with Mo Williams and Eric Bledsoe getting a lot of the time as the reserve guards, Del Negro increasingly has used Young to back up small forward Caron Butler.

"I noticed once Mo came back, Vinny's been wanting a little bit more scoring off the bench," Young said. "It's really to help Caron going into the playoffs."

At 6-7, Young has the size to guard some small forwards. But at 210 pounds, he gives away a lot of strength.

Young, a USC alumnus in his fifth NBA season, had to face Oklahoma City's 6-9 Kevin Durant on Monday night and last week faced Minnesota's Michael Beasley, listed at 6-10.

"It's a big difference playing the two [guard] and the three [small forward]," Young said. "The players you are going against are so much bigger. I had Durant and I had to guard Beasley, and he's a little stronger than me. But I played the four [power forward] at 'SC."

Young laughed at that statement.

Still developing

Because the Clippers were put together "on the fly," Del Negro said many of his adjustments have come during games.

Del Negro said the team watches a lot of film and does extra work during shoot-arounds, but it's not the same as doing it during practice.

"Adding all the players from Reggie [Evans] to Kenyon [Martin] to Nick, and Chauncey [Billups] going down [with a season-ending Achilles' tendon injury], adding those guys without the training, physically that's been the biggest issue for us," Del Negro said. "And obviously playing 20 games in March in 31 nights was not easy. But we battled through it and we're in a much better position for it by going through it."

Billups to travel in playoffs

Del Negro said he has used Billups' 15 years of experience to help the team. Billups talks to teammates on the bench during games, at shoot-arounds and at practice.

Del Negro said Billups will travel with the team during the playoffs to add his voice.

"He just has a presence about him I think just helps us," Del Negro said. "He's been through it and the guys respect that."

Playoff tickets to go on sale

The Clippers will start selling single-game tickets for first-round home playoff games Thursday, beginning at 10 a.m. The ticket prices start as low as $25 and are available at Clippers.com, Ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster outlets or by calling 1-800-NBATIX. Tickets cannot be purchased at the Staples Center box office. For groups of 12 of more, call (213) 763-2675.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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