Now in his 11th season, Thaddeus Young continues to a rock in the Pacers’ front-court, yet the forward still goes unappreciated by many.
Thaddeus Young is now 29 years old, and is as consistent as ever. The Indiana Pacers are 28 games into the 2017-18 season, sporting a 16-12 record. While much of the light has been shed upon recent additions Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis, Thad Young continues to be a solid option at Indiana’s power forward slot.
Let me start by saying, I love Thad Young. He plays a tough brand of basketball, and while it took him a while to really find his place with a team, he has always been a work-horse. He plays the brand of basketball Pacer fans are proud of, but why do we take him for granted?
Reason #1: Consistency statistically
Statistically, Young is just TOO solid. Sounds weird right?
He doesn’t put up 30 point games. He doesn’t go off for 20 rebounds and 10 blocks once a month. However, his consistency in putting up around 13-14 points as well as grabbing 7 boards a game has maintained his place in the NBA. In fact, his general stats this year are looking very similar to Utah big-man Derrick Favors. Young also has a +/- of +83 so far, which puts him in a class with guys like Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
His consistency statistically is something that is often taken for granted, and it has been his entire career. Whether it was with the 76ers, Nets, Timberwolves or the Pacers, Young has averaged at least 5 boards and 11 points every season of his career (excluding his rookie season).
Reason #2: What doesn’t show up on the stat sheet
While Young may be one of the more solid players when it comes to rebounds, points, or +/-, the way he spreads the floor and his basketball IQ have also kept him in the league this long.
Young may not be 6’11” and 250 pounds like Anthony Davis, but Young uses his 6’8” 220 pound frame very well. He runs the floor like a small forward but posts up in the paint on defense. He uses his wide frame and almost 7 foot wingspan to box out and shove off opponents in order to secure rebounds, as well as get points int he paint.
Young also has good situational awareness, and he knows where to be on the offensive side of the court, as well as defensively. He knows what works for him, and in turn what works for his team. There will always be a place for players like that. The Pacers survived the Nuggets thanks to him being in the right place.
It doesn’t hurt that he became one of the team’s leaders in the locker room this season, either.
Reason #3: He embodies the Pacers
Pacer fans love a hard worker. Pacer fans love a good guy. In turn, Pacer fans should love Thaddeus Young.
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His work ethic is extraordinary. Even his Twitter bio has the words, “Focused on Achieving Greatness through hard work and dedication”. His Twitter location is also, “In a gym/arena near you…”. The man works everyday to be the best he can be, and I don’t know who doesn’t love that.
Off the court, Thad Young makes waves. He currently has a UAA youth team, Team Thad, that is a program of his foundation, the Young for Youth Foundation. The foundation aims to help at-risk youth and young families.
Also, Thad Young recently had his jersey retired by his high school in Memphis, Mitchell High School. This came at the same time as the unveiling of a weight room at Mitchell High School that was donated by Young.
Thad Young deserves our appreciation. He’s a consistent hooper for a state that loves basketball, and is a great representative for the Pacers organization off the court. He embodies what the Pacers are all about, and what basketball should be about as a whole. Ball out on the court, be a good professional.
Consistency. Hard work. Professionalism.