Thaddeus Young’s 600 career starts defined by his unselfish and efficient play

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 29: Thaddeus Young #21 of the Indiana Pacers dunks the ball against the Portland Trailblazersat Bankers Life Fieldhouse on October 29, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 29: Thaddeus Young #21 of the Indiana Pacers dunks the ball against the Portland Trailblazersat Bankers Life Fieldhouse on October 29, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

It’s Thaddeus Young’s 165th start with the Indiana Pacers, but it will be a milestone 600th NBA start for the power forward.

Call him a glue guy, call him underrated, call him a weak link (oh you rascals on Twitter) if you don’t like him. You can call Thaddeus Young whatever you want but it doesn’t change the fact that the Indiana Pacers are a better team with him on the floor.

Indiana outscored opponents by 344 points in his time on the floor over the past three seasons, which is a simple enough way of saying the Pacers win when Thad is deflecting passes, grabbing steals, and getting buckets and rebounds for Indiana. Young always makes his teams better, but in a non-tanking situation with the Pacers, Thad got the chance to contribute on a winning team.

With the nice, round, clean milestone of 600 NBA starts coming up tonight (and his 165th with the Pacers), let’s look at some of the numbers that define his career as well as his time with the Indiana Pacers.

32 points

Now hold your horses, this isn’t so much about the total but how he did it.

Thaddeus Young’s career high of 32 points came early in his career with the Philadelphia 76ers on March 7, 2010. The total itself may not impress, but the fact he did it without wasting his chances to score is typical of Young.

In his efficient game, Young shot 13 of 18 from the floor, and 3 of 4 from deep in his team’s win over a young DeMar DeRozan and Chris Bosh. He had 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 4 steals in the game as well.

The most Thad thing about it might be that he did it was just a 21.8 usage rating. He was the 4th most used 76er in the game, but Young’s knack for taking non-opportunities and turning them into scoring ones is just how he operates. You don’t have to run plays for him, he’ll just find a way to score.

1206 steals

Part of the reason Young doesn’t need plays ran for him is that he creates his own chances with steals.

He came close to leading the league in steals in 2014 with 167, second only to Ricky Rubio’s 191. He finished 7th last season with 135 and already is in the top 10 so far this season.

His 1206 career steals place him 87th all-time in a tie with Reggie Theus. He’ll move up to 86th when he passes Mitch Richmond’s 1211 in a few games. Young is 92nd in career steal percentage as well.

More from 8 Points, 9 Seconds

And if you ask, those steals are worth more than just one number in the box score. They lead to fast break opportunities and very simply erase chances for opponents to score.

Young often gets his without risking too much in the process. They’re the product of solid defense and timely risk-taking. It’s a steady bit of production from Young that isn’t dependent on much other than his own effort, which isn’t in question. The time or score doesn’t often matter, Young just gets steals.

His 262 steals with Indiana are a big part of why their defense remains one of the NBA’s best.

52.1 percent 2-point shooting

While Young’s 3-point shooting hasn’t been as much of a factor in recent seasons, his career mark of 51.2 percent from inside the arc puts him in the top 100 and his overall field goal percentage ranks 149th all-time. While he isn’t a player that takes a ton of shots, he makes the most of them. That’s how you end up 130th all-time in effective field goal percentage at 51.8 percent.

Young doesn’t even need you to give him the ball (20.4 career usage rate) all that often. But when it’s in his hands, he is either going to score or move the ball to someone who can.

Thaddeus Young helps the Indiana Pacers win

It’s easy to get bogged down in numbers and wonder how much 11.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.6 steals a game over the past few years with Indiana are worth.

As far as advanced stats are concerned, he’s worth about 11 win shares of the 96 win Indiana has over the past three seasons. He’s shared the floor with All-Stars like Paul George and Victor Oladipo, but Young’s impact has been there the entire time.

Having an efficient player that makes the most of limited chances makes him a perfect teammate for those bigger names. He can save the day at times, and of course, it often happens when he isn’t supposed to be the one doing it.

Next. The Indiana Pacers have waived forward Ben Moore. dark

The numbers say it to, but it’s pretty clear Thaddeus Young is a winner, and the Pacers are better off for it. Congratulations on your 600th start tonight.