As A-list free agents were moving about, smaller market teams or squads not contending were making smaller moves to bolster their roster for the 2019-20 NBA season. Thaddeus Young was a prime example of such a move.
Young was a pivotal glue guy with an Indiana Pacers squad that finished last season with 48 wins and 5th in the Eastern Conference standings. The rest of the Pacers team from last year was built of young talented pieces, including Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. With such a young core, the Pacers were in need of a veteran to build a culture around these young studs, Thad Young took control of the task at hand, being a stabilizing force within a younger Pacers team.
Young was a free agent in one of the craziest off-seasons in NBA history and signed with the Chicago Bulls for 3 years and $43 Million.
In signing with the Bulls, Young walks into a familiar situation. The Bulls also have a young core, consisting of Zach Lavine, Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr, but haven’t had the success that Indiana’s core has had over the last couple of seasons. Young could just be the intelligent veteran that they’ve been looking for to put this young core into the right gear.
Over his career, Young has averaged 13.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.46 steals per game, shooting over 50.1 percent for his career. He has never been a high volume 3pt shooter but has shot it at a fair clip of 32.9 percent from deep.
Young is versatile and does a lot for his team on both sides of the floor. In fact, he is one of six active players to have career numbers of 12,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, 1,200 assists and 1,200 steals (Per NBA.com).
In 2018-19, he started all 81 games he played, with averages of 12.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists. Young also averaged 1.52 steals which was good for 14th in the NBA for the season. His field goal and three-point percentages were both above his career numbers at 52.7 percent and 34.9 percent respectively.
Thaddeus Young is playing arguably the best basketball of his career and will likely become a key contributor off the bench, with Markkanen already firmly in the starting power forward spot for Chicago. After adding Young, and several other key pieces in the draft (including Coby White) and free agency, the Chicago depth chart is taking shape and with some offseason improvement from their budding stars, the Bulls could surprise some fans in the weaker Eastern Conference.
PG: Kris Dunn Coby White Tomas Satoransky
SG: Zach Lavine Antonio Blakeney
SF: Otto Porter Jr Denzel Valentine Chandler Hutchinson
PF: Lauri Markkanen Thaddeus Young
C: Wendell Carter Jr Cristiano Felicio
Looking at this squad, there are plenty of pieces that interest you going into the 2019-20 season (and I’m not just talking about Coby White’s hair). The Bulls will be one to watch in the early weeks for sure.
At the very least, Young will be a terrific mentor for the young Bulls and can teach them how to become a team.
Young will wear number 21 for the Bulls.