This is the third installment of the Sixers’ season in review here at HoopsHabit. Tony Wroten (here) and Hollis Thompson (here) have already been covered as we attempt to break down each player’s season and their future outlook with the Sixers.
Not everyone is dealt the same lot in the life, however one thing is for certain — we will all go through peaks and valleys on this, hopefully long, journey that we call existence. Thaddeus Young is no exception. This season Young was able to do things that we have not seen from him in years past; however, he had the frustrations and personal strife of dealing with a struggling team. Let’s start with the good.
Thaddeus posted season averages of 17.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.1 steals — the points, assists and steals were all career highs. Young’s season shooting splits ended at .454/.308/.712 — efficiency was the main area that Young really struggled in, which is understandable given his increased workload and lack of experience next to him. Young also posted career highs in field goals made (582) and field goals attempted (1,282), 3-pointers made (90) and attempted (292), free throws made (163) and attempted (229), assists (182), steals (167), turnovers (165) and points (1,417). Again, it was a great season for Thad individually.
The addition of the 3-point shot is the one thing that differentiates this year’s Thad from previous years. He hit 90 3-pointers this year and his previous high was only 56 … and that was back in 2008-09, his second year in the league. Making 90 is great, but as you can see above he was below average at almost every spot from deep, the only one where he was even “average” was from the top of the key. Versatility is a huge component in today’s NBA and with Thad playing small forward, he really needs that skill of stretching the floor with the three to be as valuable as possible.
One of Young’s pitfalls is that he is a “tweener” — he’s not big enough to be a power forward and though he’s the perfect size (6’8″) to play small forward, he doesn’t possess the lateral quickness to guard a lot of the starting players at that position either. These players are difficult to assess on defense due to their unique shortcomings on that end, however Young has proven himself to be a viable defender at either position in small spurts.
The low part of this season was of course all of the losing. Nobody likes to lose and Young was just starting to get comfortable with his group of Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday and Spencer Hawes when the franchise took the initiative in tanking in hopes to turn it all around for the better. Young didn’t take (and still doesn’t) kindly to the whole tanking epidemic and he let Christopher Vito of The Times Herald know about it back on Dec. 18.
“(We have) a lot of first and second-year guys and when you’re dealing with those types of (players), like I said, the frustration level does get up there because you’re not used to it. I’m used to playing with guys who are four or five-year veterans in this league and they can play. And then you have one or two-year guys who are fresh and trying to make a name for themselves.”
That quote points out all you really need to know regarding Young’s perception of this season. It was clear from the start that he was not happy with the tanking discussion and once Hawes and Turner were shipped out at the trade deadline, it was almost disappointing that he had not also been traded.
Is Thaddeus Young still a guy that can be a starter for this Philly team moving forward? I certainly think so, and I think the mindset next season will be much, much different from what it was in 2013-14. Will they be in contention, certainly not, but they will compete much more consistently then they did this year.
All in all Thad had a good season and he added some skills — mainly the threat of an outside shot — that will keep him in general manager conversations as a guy they might want to go get eventually. Who knows what Sam Hinkie will do with Young but this year has to be taken into context, and in the context of what he was surrounded by, Thad had himself a dandy of a year.