It's time to take a look back on the 2008-2009 season, and assess how each player performed. More importantly, though, I want to pay close attention to how the pieces on this young team progressed. It's Thad Young's turn today. Stats, trends, highlights and lowlights after the jump.
I was looking for a game where Thad carried a decent chunk of the scoring load, got to the line and contributed on the boards. Unfortunately, there really wasn't one, so I went with 2 out of 3. March 25, vs. Minnesota. 9/18 from the floor, 11/14 from the line, 29 points, 3 boards, 3 steals and 0 turnovers.
Feb. 2, vs. Boston. 36 minutes, 1 rebound. Need I say more?
Coming into the season, I wanted to see Thad step into the role of scorer for this team. He's probably the best natural scorer on the roster, and he did a very good job of assuming that role, when the coaches and his teammates would allow him to. For a stretch at the end of the season, before his ankle injury, he was the team's #1 option and things looked bright. Some of that luster wore off with a sub-par playoff series against Orlando, but I still think he made great strides with is offensive game, especially considering how he extended his range to three and gained confidence in his improving jumper.
Unfortunately, Thad lost ground in a few key areas. His rebounding rate was pitifully low for a power forward, and a big drop from his numbers as a rookie, which I really can't understand. His defense also took a hit, although I think if you get him out of the power forward position, we'll see the defensive prowess we saw in his rookie season return.
Overall, this was a very good season for a 20 year-old guy starting basically the entire season. There's plenty for Thad to work on, but I'm not going to judge the guy harshly considering he spent the majority of the season playing out of position, and another large chunk playing for a coach who bragged to the media that he never called plays for him. I'm still expecting big things from Thad.