Last season, Thaddeus Young was an under-sized four, or maybe a small forward playing out of position. This season, I'm not so sure. Early in the season I noticed a fairly drastic difference in Thad's physical appearance, check it out for yourself, the picture on the left is from last season, the one on the right is from this year:
From the looks of things, Thad spent some serious time in the weight room along with the extra shooting practice and just about every other type of on-court work he could do over the Summer. What does this mean? Well, I'm starting to think that this may mean his long-term position may just be power forward.
The added size seems to have cost him some mobility, especially on the defensive side of the ball. He still has very quick feet for a guy his size, but he just isn't as quick as the two guards he's been asked to cover. Last season, he was. Here's a good example
He's still got the quickness to both play and defend the three, and the added range on his jumper and improved handle both mean he should eventually excel at the position, but I'm starting to think that as a power forward he could be dominant. Last season, when put up a 19.4 PER at PF he relied on his speed, quickness and athleticism advantage to win match-ups and hide his glaring weaknesses for the position, size and strength. This year, I'm not sure those glaring weaknesses are really there anymore.
Keep in mind, the kid is only 20 years old. He won't be 21 until late June. I think right now he has the bulk to bang with most of the PFs in the league. Who knows how much more he'll fill out his frame over the next couple of seasons. He's got the low post moves, he's developing the power, he'll always have a quickness advantage, what he lacks in height he makes up for with an enormous wing span. Now picture having a four on the court who other teams need to defend on the perimeter. All the way out to the three point line.
What this means in the grand scheme of things is anyone's guess. The Sixers just spent a ton of dough on Elton Brand. They've got Marreese Speights blossoming in front of their eyes. They've got Dalembert's contract on the books unless they can find someone willing to take him. Long-term, I'm not sure what the answer is. There are plenty of minutes to go around, so we could see Brand and Thad splitting time at PF, and Speights/Brand splitting time at center. Thad could still see time at the three with Iguodala getting some minutes at the two.
If I'm on the right track here, and Thad's body is going to continue to grow into that of a power forward, finding a way to move Dalembert for a decided upgrade over Willie Green at the two should be this team's top priority.
What do you guys think? Am I way off base and Thad's future is clearly at the 3, or does his increased size mean he's on the way to becoming a dominant 4?