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Thad Young: Two Steps Forward, One Back?

deepsixersuede on May 5 at 8:27

We become a very good team when we find a consistant 20 to 25 ppg. scorer to put next to Iggy ,that isn!t our p.g..Thad will be a big reason why E.S. can let A.Miller walk if he wants too much money.I believe if we move Thad and Iggy to the 3/2 and get a defensive p.g. in the draft and Elton stays healthy,a lot of if!s, we will be a real contender in the East next year.He was asked to work on his perimeter game and that did affect his rebounding slightly but he still isn!t aggressive enough in a lot of ways.When we start looking for him more he should get back to being a major mismatch down the offensive end.Ex. If he gets 20 ppg. who does Boston put Pierce on.It would be nice to create mismatches rather than having to deal with them. He shot well from 3 in the playoffs and at the 3 should fuel our break by stepping in the passing lanes further from the basket and taking off from there.If he improves offensively as well next year as he did this year look out.

Tom Moore on May 5 at 8:53

Young needs to rebound better and work on his ball-handling/passing. Rashard Lewis dominated him in Games 5 and 6. It'd help if he were allowed to play small forward full-time, though that won't happen unless Iguodala can shoot jumpers well enough to play the "two" spot -- don't hold your breath.

Sean reply to Tom Moore on May 5 at 13:22

For the sake of argument, why can't Thad be the better shooter of the two(a very real possibility)? If Thad becomes a 40% shooter from three, that spreads the floor for Iguodala's playmaking at the two. I do think that Iggy can become a competent shooter, but it is less of a concern if they get a shooter at the point and Thad improves.

1. Look at Thad's best scoring games... The team was 9-2 when Thad scored 23 pts. The team team averaged 12 more points in those games (107 vs 95- so he was not scoring at the expense of others.)

I'm not saying Young can average 23 next year, but the team really dominated offensively when he was on and they went to him.

2. I am less worried about rebounding with Thad at SF. IMO he was played out of position all year.

By contrast, when Miller scores 23+ the team was 8W and 10L and only scored 4 more pts.

Like Suede said, "We become a very good team when we find a consistant 20 to 25 ppg. scorer to put next to Iggy."

But that guy is Thad, not the PG. BTW, the team was 5-0 when Brand scored 22+.

Statman on May 5 at 10:40

A couple comments about Thad ...

First, about his defense, I'm not convinced that he'll ever be able to defend the 3 consistently (I mentioned this elsewhere). He has a lot of trouble staying in front of penetrators and staying on the ground. If he were able to do those things, he'd be able to use his length to bother shots, like Iguodala does. At the 4, he doesn't get burned by penetration as often and can do what he does best on D -- offer help defense. He does have fast hands and gets his share of steals, but he had a very low number of blocked shots (only 23 all year) and is a very poor defensive rebounder, even for a SF. If he does play the 3 a lot next year, his best defense will be a good offense, as they say.

Regarding his offensive game, I agree with those who describe him as the best natural scorer on the team (Speights has a good, natural-looking jumper too). At this point in his career, Thad is best at finishing plays that others have started (e.g., Iguodala on dribble penetration). Plays where Thad has the ball on the perimeter and penetrates are 50/50 at best (seemingly a quarter of those plays end right away on a traveling call). Thad also struggles with passing at this point, with a fractional assist-to-turnover ratio. He did start to look for others toward the end of the year, with mixed results.

The biggest area where his offensive game needs improvement is in drawing fouls. While not nearly as bad as Willie's 7.7 FGA to FTA ratio, Thad's 5.1 was next-worst on the team among regulars. Often when he would beat his man, he would put up a floater or a fadeaway in the lane instead of taking it up strong and drawing contact. I do have hopes that he will become a more physical player as his career progresses (both on offense and on defense). As I mentioned in another post, if he stays where he is now, he'll be Tim Thomas, more or less. His potential is MUCH greater than that.

Final note, my impression is that Iguodala and Thad get along well (maybe Tom can lend insight as to whether this is true off the court as well). Their games mesh well, and my guess would be that no other Sixer pairing has produced a better +/- over the past couple years. The other aspect where both are similar is that they both work hard and have the right attitude about improving their games. I'm definitely in favor of keeping both of them.

The adjusted +/- of Young/Iguodala is amongst the top in the NBA. The team is much better when both are on the court.

As for your critique of Thad's weakness, I think you need to project forward more based on his potential. He has the form to be a very good shooter. His handle is improving at a rapid pace, and he has a tremendous 1st step.

Overall, he is closer to his ceiling as an inside player (due to size limitations), and will never be a good shotblocker, rebounder or inside defender. But he projects to be a great wing player. Some of the weaknesses you point out are completely correctable. He has the quickness and length to be a great perimeter defender. He just needs to work on it. If he had short arms or was slow then this would be a different issue (like KK having a limited ceiling as a wing defender.)

"First, about his defense, I'm not convinced that he'll ever be able to defend the 3 consistently (I mentioned this elsewhere). He has a lot of trouble staying in front of penetrators and staying on the ground. If he were able to do those things, he'd be able to use his length to bother shots, like Iguodala does."

I don't think that was his problem defending the 3. I actually think he does a good job staying in front of his man. I've seen Young switch out on pg's and deny them penetration. When Young struggled in defending the 3 (IMO) it was more because he drifted off of his man to help elsewhere when it wasn't needed. That's entirely correctable with experience and coaching.

Agreed. Over-helping always seemed like his biggest weakness on defense, and I don't think he played the three defensively enough to draw any solid conclusions.

Thad has the physical tools to be an excellent defender, and I believe his work ethic and attitude will get him there. Rashard's abuse of him in the final games of the playoffs should tell us that ideally he shouldn't be defending the four, or at the very least if he is going to, he needs to add strength.

Statman reply to Brian on May 5 at 14:18

You guys might be right that Thad will eventually be able to stay in front of the average SF. My impressions are probably biased by his poor defense on Turkoglu pretty much every time he was matched up with Hedo, but the ankle might have had something to do with that. The other point is that Rashard Lewis is not a typical PF; he's played SF most of his career. So Thad's problems with Lewis can't just be dismissed as playing out of position -- Thad needs to be more physical on defense, period. Iguodala, who is 2 inches shorter, seemed to play Lewis a lot better in the post the few times he matched up with Lewis.

I agree that Thad has a good work ethic. Hopefully he will devote some of it to defense and rebounding this summer.

Yeah, Iggy did a much better job on Lewis, and it was all because of strength. Lewis would be big for a SF, though. He's more a tweener than a three.

suede: 'consistant 20 to 25 ppg. scorer to put next to Iggy ,that isn!t our p.g' - is that bcos the pg needs to have the ball a lot to put up numbers like that? Miller does a lot of ball hogging (albeit necessary) to score. can we really say that were are at that stage where we have enough options offensively to let go of Miller while having Sammy D still on the floor? I think it will work but then I'm blindly optimistic.

john reply to jkay on May 5 at 11:39

Don't forget brand coming back
a consistent 20/10 guy in his career
if you're obsessed with a 20 point scorer - brand is one
Iguodala stays at 18/19
Young progresses another step and gets closer to 20

It's not 'big 3' but it ain't a bad start. Speights progresses and you have a stronger bench. I believe Lou Williams is more last year than this year and will bounce back. Get rid of the anchors, find better replacements in free agency (a good GM can do it) and a smart draft pickk in the first round.

Buy in late in the 2nd to get woodside as your 3 point bench sniper when needed

Is there a third sports radio option in Philadelphia?

Listening to someone realistically suggest Dalembert/Iguodala for McGrady like it's good for the sixers?


That's a good trade if you want to flush this team down the toilet and try again next Summer. Heading into the 2010 free agent class they'd have Brand, Thad, Willie, Reggie, Speights, Smith, Lou and two draft picks under contract for roughly $39M. They'd also have enough cap space to sign a max deal free agent (depending on what happens with he cap) in what is supposed to be the premier free agent class.

Of course, they'd also spend this upcoming season as a doormat. Then again, a trip to the lottery, plus having Willie and Evans as expiring contracts could open up a lot of moves to set the franchise up.

Not as silly when viewed from that perspective. Although I'm not ready to flush the whole team and basically give up on another year of Brand's contract. If I traded for McGrady, I'd probably buy him out rather than have him play his ass off in a walk year just to get us to .500.

I think you are giving the radio guys too much credit.

Were they really discussing the cap implications of that trade?

My guess is they were saying how the Sixers need a real "superstar", and McGrady met their uninformed definition.

Oh, I'm definitely giving them too much credit, but that doesn't mean their idea doesn't have some merit, albeit unintended :)

john reply to Brian on May 5 at 12:25

Actually they were talking primarily about it being a cap deal - their motivation is dumping sam - but realistically believe no one will take sams deal without some sort of either 'crap' contract back in return OR a valuable asset.

If you're a 'cap' chaser it's not that horrible a deal and that's why they were making it - they don't believe in mcgrady.

OK, maybe I should give them some credit. As a cap clearing move its at least worth discussing. One could argue that Iguodala's deal is no so cap smart either after the 1st 2 years. Still would not do the deal.

Intelligent sports talk radio is an oxymoron. Its entertainment... not that I find it entertaining.

Every one in a while you get a guy like Dittenger on for an hour. But otherwise its a waste.

Brian - Do you believe that lebron james, or dwyane wade (who i wouldn't sign anyway due to injury concerns) is going to move? I don't. If the cavs win a title this year, or ven get close (say lose in game 7) - I see him re-signing this off season. Maybe Bosh moves - but I think Raptors GM gets smart and moves Bosh to a team that signs him to an extension sooner than later.

I think targeting 2010 free agency is a horrible idea and when teams clear cap space for FA historically - how well does that turn out for them usually? And I'm not down with giving up on Iguodala just yet...

Tk - ESPN 710 out of LA isn't half bad - they seem to have a bit of a clue (plus LA is more of a basketball town than any other sport)

If Iverson were never a sixer - would this even be a discussion by the way?

I wouldn't do it, but there is some logic. And if you have McGrady's HUGE expiring deal, that opens the door for a trade as well. Something like what Denver did this season to get Chauncey.

I'm not ready to give up on Iguodala at all. I don't think there's anything to give up on, he's a great player.

What do you mean by if Iverson was never a Sixer?

john reply to Brian on May 5 at 12:21

There's a lot of talk about signing iverson this off season

I wonder if anyone would consider it if he wasn't a sixer before and they didn't have the nostalgic 2001 feel about him?


For example - hires I never liked that I felt were motivated as much by nostalgia as qualification.

Anyone who signs Iverson without giving him the complete freedom to take 25 shots a night is in for a headache and a disaster. Anyone who signs Iverson fully intending to hand the team over to him at this point of his career is heading to the lottery. I'm hoping the Sixers won't fall into either category.

Joe reply to john on May 5 at 12:52

Wouldn't sign Wade because of injury concerns? o.O

john reply to Joe on May 5 at 13:03

Yup - he's going to want a max deal in 2010 and he's already had some serious injury problems - including back issues as I understand it

Dwyane Wade's game makes him more prone to injury and he seems less able to play through said injuries than Iverson was - I wouldn't put max money into wade for max length because I don't think he'll be at the top scale as long as others.

Don't forget he's also 2 years older than both lebron and bosh

I don't think LeBron's leaving, I wouldn't want Wade or Bosh on a max deal, to be honest, but there are guys who should get less money in that class who you may be able to afford two of. Joe Johnson, Manu, Amare...it could be a stocked class.

You could sign Camby and Joe Johnson, possibly.

john reply to Brian on May 5 at 13:09

How old will Manu be by 2010? Let's put it this way - if the spurs don't make a play for him - that worries me - since I think the spurs are one of the better run organizations in the NBA - so if they let him walk - why are they letting him walk?

Amare - let's see how he recovers from that Eye thing shall we :)

Here's the thing with all these names - once lebron ISNT available - teams that cleared all that cap space are going to spasm and have to spend it on someone to make their fans happy - that's great for the second tier of players but not so good for fans cause that's where GMs get stupid.

Hmmn. What about a sign and trade sending Dalembert and Miller to Houston for McGrady?

Ugh, nevermind. They wouldn't have enough cap space to do anything in 2010.

john reply to Brian on May 5 at 13:15

Does Houston need Andre Miller even?

Houston is a team that worries about defense and 'wins' when they are in the 80s/low 90s...Miller doesn't exactly help that...Alston and Brooks are doing fine the way it is.

I wonder what Houston does this off season with Ron Ron - do they think it's for real or is it 'contract year' fools gold?

Have you been impressed by Artest? He takes an awful lot of bad shots and really doesn't seem as mobile as he used to be.

john reply to Brian on May 5 at 13:20

I haven't - I actually don't pay attention to Houston all that much - but I haven't heard anything 'bad' about Artest this year and the rockets got out of the first round with artest sans mcgrady :)

I'm inferring from a lack of noise...

Interesting post from TrueHoop on team defense.

Basically, in it Thorpe talks about how both Redick and Battier made plays on offensive rebounds their team gave up to cut off open shooters. Meaning, when it became clear the other team was going to grab the offensive rebound, they sprinted to open men to cut off open shots before the ball could be kicked out for an open look.

Thorpe takes this as a sign that Orlando and Houston have a good team defensive philosophy, but couldn't it also be a product of both guys coming out of Duke? Maybe Coach K stresses this, or maybe both guys are just smarter than the average NBA player and able to think ahead instead of purely reacting.

Well, I guess I'll offer my thoughts on Thad's year.

Thad got a lot worse, or stayed the same, at everything pretty much.

People say his handle was better. I guess. Have good things come from this "improved handle"? I say no. He takes much worse shots now. IS that development? Maybe. Or it is developing poor habits. If he had a better handle, a few more free throws REALLY would have been nice.

People say his range increased or his shot got better. Well, last year he had the same eFG% on jumpers. Maybe this year he was taking worse shots and thus it went down. Once again, this isn't an improvement in his game right now. Down the road? Maybe.

And obviously he made no developments w/respect to seeing the court and making better passes. His rebounding went from below average to pitiful.

He got worse at scoring. His eFG% and TS% both went down a somewhat notable amount. Also, the D has already been discussed. Nothing to add.

Not sure how I could see many positives except that we now "know" he will be able to score 20 ppg if he wants. Well, you could tell that from a 15 pp36 rookie anyway like he was last year, so I know nothing more from this season about Thad except bad things like probability is teetering against him more and more. Poor college career. Very good rookie year. Very bad Sophomore year.

Have I given up on Thad? Not at all. If I had stock in him though... I'd be selling right now. Actually I'd have sold about 2 weeks into into his hot streak, when OMG 20 ppg talk started.

I think you are being a bit harsh. Thad tried to do a ton more away from the basket then in his rookie year- and his FG% and efficiency suffered.

I agree with you that aside from his 18 game streak at the end (averaging 20+ pts), he struggle to develop as a consistent weapon. But that was not him playing worse. It was Thad struggling trying to score from the wing, which was not part of his game at all as a rookie.

I think calling this a very bad sophomore year is a bit over the top. At 20 years-old he shot 49.5% from the floor, he shot that percentage while increasing his three-point attempts from 19 in his rookie season to 164 in his sophomore year.

For some perspective, only 4 players in the league shot that high of a percentage from the field while attempting at least 164 threes: Chris Paul, Boris Diaw, Steve Nash and Jose Calderon.

The rebounding was a big disappointment, but on offense Thad really expanded his game. For the most part, his points came on the break and on put-backs last year, this year, he used his improved handle to get to the hoop in the half-court game, he used a jab step to get off his jumper from wherever he wanted on the floor. He was a much more dynamic offensive player, and I have faith that the other areas of his game will catch up to his scoring given his age, athletic ability, work ethic and attitude. My two cents.

Tom Moore on May 5 at 15:07

You don't have to worry about Iverson coming back. It won't happen.

john reply to Tom Moore on May 5 at 15:13

Do I have to worry about any of the following coaching this team next year?

Van Gundy
Avery Johnson?

If anyone has the guts to listen to mike misanelli with his 'all color' sports teams today - more power to you

I see it more like 3 steps forward, 2 steps back.

hey the talk about two steps back or one step is kinda subjective. i think Thad is just becoming more of the player he will be. everyone thought he he had all around game talent when he came up as a rookie but now we can see that he favors, or is stronger in certain parts; he is a natural scorer 18+ppg easy; post and developing perimeter, he rebounds well offensively but not defensively, has very little inclination to pass the ball coupled with average floor vision. That is more of the Thad Young we'll see i believe. remember when Iguodala was a rookie he was already having triple doubles, a harbinger of the kind of player he would become (a jack of all trades). same for Young here. what you see is what he is becoming. no one has no holes in his game. weakness in one aspect implies strength in another. not bad at all for his soph campaign. i'd say 1-2 steps forward in a certain direction and leaving the rest behind.

I don't think you can go with a "what you see is what you get... just more polished" approach to all areas. To draw fouls, drive and create for others you need a good handle. Iguodala entered the league with one, and that's why he could get a triple double.

Thad is not a natural creator- but he seems to be a willing and able passer. That may not have translated into many assists yet, but it will (I think 3-4 a game within 2 years, and then maybe 4+ in his prime.) He won't be the type that dominates the ball for 10 sec of shot clock and only passes as a last resort.

Thad makes quick, low risk passes around the perimeter. He tries to make passes when he drives, but his handle betrays him. He is not a guy like Willie who is not a willing passer or loves to dribble.

He will never be a 5-6 assist guy like Iguodala or Roy, but I don't see it as a future weakness. It won't be his role o set upother players- but I don't thnk he will be a black hole either. He will be an efficient scorer who will score a lot with a reasonable usage rate, and won't dominate the ball.

Real and Speightacular on May 6 at 8:54

I think the performances of March 2009 is going to be closer to the template we'll see from Thad in his prime. He was boarding well for a guy playing above his weight, way out of position. Credible defender. And boy did he ever score the bejeezus out of the ball. This guy, to me, is an obvious player.

At random (catchin up a lil with previous posts)...
Sixers would do well to take the painful medicine and trade Thad now to help fill grievous needs: a real starting 2-guard (go for Thornton in the draft if need be), a decent b/u 2-guard (or a decent pg if Lou is to be that 2-guard); A starting point whose main strengths are dishing and playing halfway decent defense; a young dependable b/u center for Sammy's flake out nights.

In the draft I like Teague (not exactly sure what position tho), Maynor, Thornton, and Danny Green as reasonable gettables. If Thad or Lou could be used in a trade to either get up into the lottery (Harden??! Henderson! even TWill), the team on balance will be so much improved going into next season. We're stuck with Sam and Evans, don't even sweat it.

would you trade Thad to get what we want now? or are you willing to wait to draft or trade for what will be an up and comer that can fill the 1 position in 2-3yrs and complete the backcourt? without Thad our overall talent wont get us anywhere fast.

john reply to jkay on May 6 at 12:22

A hypothetical question asked in a vacuum - you can't really answer

No idea what could be had for Thaddeus Young - cause he's on a rookie deal you most likely pair him up with a crappy contract (Dalembert) and then your return is discounted because the team getting young has to take dalembert (or evans or green or williams)

Not necessarily.

If a team is trading a really good player w/ a long contract for Thad and Dalembert, they'd be getting the better of the deal financially.

john reply to Brian on May 6 at 12:28

I suppose - though what team is looking to trade a 'really good player' with a long contract for sams bad contract and thads upside?

If I was looking to make that deal, I'd probably start with New Orleans and make the rounds of every team that's in serious financial trouble.

john reply to Brian on May 6 at 13:36

Aside from Chris Paul I don't see much in their back court i'd give up for Thaddeus Young

But - what do you think about Monta Ellis?

Fully healthy, I think he's like what we wish on our best day Lou Williams could become. Right now, just a better version of what Lou is.

I'd need definitive proof that he's 100% back from that ankle injury before I'd even think about trading for him.

Oh, and he isn't a shooter, so he doesn't solve that problem.

Real and Speightacular reply to jkay on May 6 at 15:17

Fair question but I'm not the man to answer it. John's right, there're too many variables in play right now. But I do know Sixers could get something strong for him right now. I don't know how it might work but isn't it possible to bundle him up somehow to get into (at least) the mid-lottery in a weak draft year? If that's possible, that'd be my first instinct.

However it all works out if by training camp there's a solid starter in every position (mainly by getting a solid 2-guard and a long-term point), they'll be ready to hunt.

Not for Young per se

but what about Jordan Farmar?

Real and Speightacular reply to john on May 6 at 15:20

Farmar = sketchy. Felt like he took a few steps backward this season. I guess he's still got potential tho. Neither sweet nor sour on him.

Slipping behind Brown in the rotation come end of season playoff time, my guess is he's not that expensive to obtain either...

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