I've seen a ton of chatter about the Sixers possibly trading Andre Iguodala if they pick Evan Turner with the number two pick in next month's draft. Let me start by saying that's asinine, at this point. There's absolutely no need to trade anyone right now. Drafting Turner does turn up the heat on one particular Sixers, in my mind, however. The impact on Thad after the jump.
I'll spend a paragraph talking about why trading Iguodala right now is a stupid, stupid idea, then we'll delve into Thad. The logic (or lack thereof) behind moving Iguodala is either (a) he's too similar to Evan Turner or (b) he doesn't shoot well enough to play alongside Turner, who isn't a very good shooter in his own right. On the first note, being an extremely versatile wing with good size and the ability to play, and guard, multiple positions is not a bad thing. Having two such players is not a bad thing either. On the second note, unless you're talking about trading Iguodala for a three who can really shoot the lights out, I don't see how trading him is addressing this issue in any way shape or form. If you trade Iguodala for Al Jefferson, you're talking about sliding Thad Young in as your starting small forward. In case you hadn't noticed, Thad can't shoot either. On top of that, Thad isn't half the all-around player Iguodala is. You'd be trading away Iguodala to address a perceived weakness at another position, only to leave the SF position weaker than the position you're addressing in the trade currently is. It doesn't make a lick of sense.
Now, on to Thad. This season should define his career in Philadelphia. To be more accurate, his performance this season, if he's on the team for the entire year, could be his last in a Sixers uniform. Here's the honest truth: He doesn't defend, nor rebound well enough to play significant time at the four. He doesn't shoot well enough, handle the ball well enough, or play man defense on the perimeter well enough to be a legitimate starting three in the league. He has some natural scoring ability. He's athletic enough, and supposedly smart enough to be able to defend at this level at the three, but he hasn't shown it. Not a bit.
This season, you have to figure Iguodala and Turner will eat up close to 80 minutes/game at the three and two positions. That leaves probably 16-20 minutes/game for Thad at the three and maybe 5 or so minutes at the four in small lineups. If he doesn't make the most of those minutes, if he doesn't truly display the ability to play one position or the other at an adequate level, his value to this team becomes little more than his expiring contract. He's no longer a rookie contract. He's no longer a cheap option off the bench, he's a guy looking for an extension. At the most, the Sixers should try to retain him for the qualifying offer for the following season, but he's a restricted free agent. If someone else wants to give him a contract similar to the one Lou got two years ago, you have to let him walk.
Is it too early to write Thad off? Maybe. He's only 22, obviously he has room to grow. Unfortunately, when you draft 18-year-olds, you only get until they're 22 to figure out if they're going to be worth that big pay bump on their second contract.
Thad's clock is officially ticking and this is why I think it's high time Ed Stefanski started making calls, gauging his value around the league. A decision is going to have to be made on his future with this team some time in the next twelve months, and based on what I've seen so far, I don't think he should be here on opening night 2011 unless he accepts his qualifying offer. If he has value right now, you have to think about pulling the trigger.
Here's my question for you guys. Can Thad turn things around under a proper NBA coach, with a defined role? I think Collins will work the young guys hard and I think he'll be upfront about the roles each guy will play. Thad is going to be a bench player, most likely, can he take those minutes and turn into something more than a streaky scorer without a position? That's the million dollar question, and it's a task that Thad has to take deadly serious this season.