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What Do They Need From Thad?

The Dynamic Duo. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Over the past two games we've seen Thad Young absolutely explode on the offensive side of the ball. He's taken over each game for long stretches, and given the Andres a break from having to carry the offense. It was just a taste of what we've all been waiting for from this kid, we saw it coming last season, we saw flashes of it earlier this year and obviously, we're all hoping it's here to stay. Here's the question, though: Is it enough?

My short answer is yes. Let me explain.

First, don't get me wrong. I think Thad can be much more than a scorer, and I think he already is. He can absolutely rebound better than he has. He can absolutely handle the ball better than he has. And I'm sure he can defend better than he has (although I think he's already a good defender, I think he has the tools to be an excellent defender). I'm not saying I hope he doesn't evolve into an all-around player like Andre Iguodala. What I'm saying is that the future of this franchise doesn't depend on it.

Look at it this way. Assume Elton Brand is healthy from opening day next season. Assume Andre Miller is re-signed to a decent contract and let's assume the team also adds a shooting guard who can stretch the floor, for argument's sake, let's say Anthony Parker. That would give you the following rotation:

PG: Miller, Ivey (draft pick)
SG: Iguodala, Parker, Williams, Green
SF: Thad, Iguodala, Parker
PF: Brand, Speights, Smith, Evans
C: Dalembert, Speights, Smith

That gives you two very good playmakers in Iguodala and Miller. Guys who can score, but don't need a ton of shots to get their points. You've got Dalembert, who admittedly needs to tone down his offense, but stands tall as a defensive center. You've got Elton Brand, whose role needs to be better defined than it was this season, but we'll save that for a later date. And you've got Thad Young.

In that lineup, I don't see a problem with designating Thad as a scorer on offense. I don't think they need him creating for anyone else. I don't think they need him handling the ball. I think the offense would be just fine if instead of running through Thad, it ended with him. What I mean by this is Thad, probably more than anyone else in the starting lineup, will have a size advantage and the offensive skill set to beat his man. He's going to be the best spot-up shooter in the lineup, he'll have the size and moves to post up just about every small forward in the league.

Yes, in order to be an All Star, or a true superstar in this league, he's going to have to hone the ancillary skills. For this team to be truly dynamic, it would be unbelievable to have two wings who play like Igudoala. But is it vital? I don't think so. If Thad Young can turn into a guy who scores 20 points/game on 15 shots/game, this team would be extremely tough to beat. I don't think it's out of the question for Thad to be that guy as early as next season, and the best part of all, I think he could do it while shooting over 47% from the floor and 38% from three.

In the short term, let's just hope that the Thad we've seen over the past two games shows up later today against Miami.

Speaking of which, I'll have my pregame up before the 1pm tip and I'll be here, live for the in-game discussion as well.
by Brian on Mar 15 2009
Tags: Basketball | Sixers | Thaddeus Young |