Believe it or not, Thaddeus Young is one of the real veteran players on the Philadelphia 76ers. It seems like just yesterday when the Sixers selected him with the 12th overall pick out of Georgia Tech in the 2007 NBA draft.
Young is now in his sixth season with the Sixers. Moreover, he’s the longest tenured Sixer. At age 24, he’s one of the team leaders. Young has exhibited great basketball and terrific leadership skills this season.
“I’ve been here longer than anybody on the team,” Young said. “But at the end of the day, I’ve been here through coaches and different staffs and ownership change. I just take it and go with it.
“My teammates, we’ve been talking and I think this is one of the better communicating teams we’ve had. Even though we’ve played with different groups, I think this is a better communicating team because we have a couple of solid vets who have been to the championship and been to the finals and who have been to the second and third round. I think that’s the biggest part of this change.”
Young, a 6-foot-8, 235-pound forward, has been one of the Sixers most consistent players. He’s averaging 15.1 points and 7.3 rebounds a game. Young has been running the floor, taking the 15 footer, rebounding and playing good defense.
“It’s just about going out there and knowing what you have to do to help your team win with Lou (Williams), Dre (Andre Iguodala) and EB (Elton Brand) gone,” Young said. “There are more shots and more time for me to be out on the court. I have to produce. If I’m going to be out there, I have to produce at all times. I have to be in the pluses and not the minuses. The same thing for Evan (Turner) and Jrue (Holiday), we’ve been here. We’re the guys the organization is shaping around and Andrew Bynum also. So, we have to produce and show production.”
Young has been producing throughout his career. He’s performed extremely well as a starter and a reserve. A year ago, Young and Lou Williams, who now plays for the Atlanta Hawks, were arguably the NBA’s top reserve tandem. Young averaged 12.8 points and 5.2 rebounds a game while helping the Sixers to the NBA playoffs.
“I don’t think it was a big change for me,” Young said. “Last year, I was always in the game playing in the fourth quarter. I was one of those guys the team looked to get a bucket when we needed it or when we needed to get a stop. I was one of the guys who did that. Throughout the course of my career, I’ve had over 100 starts. I’ve always had that starter’s mentality. It was just about getting back into the rotation.
“With me and Lou, when we came off the bench we had to be ready. We were the scorers. The ball is going to be in our hands all the time. We have to kind of facilitate whether we’re coming back or taking the lead. That’s what the coach trusted in us. That’s what we had to do. You have to be ready when you come into the game.”
The Sixers (12-10) are coming off a disappointing 96-89 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday. Young was very steady in that contest scoring 13 points, pulling down nine rebounds and handing out three assists. The Sixers will face the Indiana Pacers on the road tonight. After that, they will return home to host Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, Dec. 16 at 6 p.m.