When Antonio Daniels went down with his injury, Eddie Jordan decided to start Nick Young, claiming he didn't want to have the three youngsters (Young, Blatche, McGuire) on the floor at the same time. Considering how well Eddie had done coaching this team this season, I think most of us accepted the decision at face value and didn't really question it (I sure didn't).
Two games in, though, I think it's clear that Eddie needs to reevaluate that thought process. In the two games that Nick Young has started, he has been a non-factor, particularly yesterday, when he shot 1-10 from the field and struggled to make the correct plays in the Princeton offense. I'm not one to place too much weight in assists, but Young had 0 last night, which shouldn't be too much of a surprise considering that was his problem at USC as well. Worse yet, as many have mentioned, Young loses confidence very quickly and tries to shoot his way out of slumps, which bogs down the offense.
In a sense, we already knew these things. For all the exciting things he's done this year, the major reason Young has impressed us all is that he's been used in such short spurts. Such stints highlighted his strengths (instant offense) and downplayed his deficiencies (passing, bogging down the offense, etc.). I'm not one to subscribe to "energy players," but Nick Young, as he stands right now, was an energy player.
So now, Eddie decides to start him, just because he doesn't want three guys under 22 in at the same time? That's overcoaching. It's not like he can tailor his sub patterns so that Blatche, Young, and McGuire aren't on the floor at the same time anyway. Why not start Mason, take him out early for Young, then put him back in when Blatche comes in for Haywood a little bit later? That's probably not the best solution, but the point is, there are ways to get around the silly "stability to the second unit" argument.
Mason's a better shooter and defender than Young at this stage of his career, but most importantly, he'll play the same way no matter how his shot is going. Sometimes, that can be a bad thing, but when you're looking to start the game with some stability, that quality is nice. More importantly, it's not like bringing him off the bench improves his game, because he's the type of player who needs to get into a rhythm.
But the most important reason to start Mason is the fact that he doesn't turn the ball over. Mason is turning the ball over on just 8 percent of Wizard posessions this year, which is crazy considering Antonio Daniels, the guy who we hold up as the gold standard of taking care of the ball, is at 10.9 this season. Nick Young, by comparison, is at 13.2, and anecdotally, it seems like that number is a bit too low because it doesn't account for all the possessions that end with bad shots. Without Gilbert Arenas and Antonio Daniels in there to draw fouls, taking care of the ball is of the utmost importance, and Mason does that far better than Young.
The decision seems clear to me. Eddie needs to stop overcoaching and play his guys based on their strengths.