For a guy without a true position, Thaddeus Young had himself a solid 2012-13 campaign.
He started all but six games,
the ones he missed with a hamstring strain, while developing into a
bona fide leader for the 76ers. He established career-highs with 34.6
minutes, 7.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.8 steals,
and scored 14.8 points per game – the second-most in his career for a
single-season. And the small forward/power forward/center actually
turned up his play AFTER returning from the injury report.
One caveat, though: Young was
told by the Sixers’ coaching staff during his exit interview that it
would be in his best interest to work on his outside game.
And … there’s that.
Young, who will make $8.2
million next season, is a high-energy, hustle man. He plays his best on
the break and, considering the Sixers had him matched with opposing
teams’ top post players, he held his own under the
rim. Beyond that, well, he needs some work.
Consider: Young shot 59.3
percent (398-for-671) from the rim to within nine feet of it. From 10
feet to just inside the 3-point arc, Young struggled. He shot 39.4
Quick assessment: Young is a guy who will not complain … even after putting the finishing touches on a down season.
“I think it was still a fun
season,” he said, following the Sixers’ last game of the regular season.
“We tried our best to keep fighting. We're a team that never quit.”
And because he won’t
complain, the Sixers will never hear Young say what it’d be like if he
was to align himself with a legitimate post player. That’s exactly what
the Sixers should do for Young. It won’t be easy,
either. The free agency market will be thin, and people within the
Sixers have interest but are naturally hesitant to get into the Andrew
Bynum sweepstakes. But adding someone with whom Young can pair in the
paint – and no, Spencer Hawes is not that someone
– would only continue Young’s development into one of the best low-post
tweeners in the game.