Thaddeus Young has been in the NBA for a long time. Drafted in 2007, he has shared the court with many all-time greats. LeBron, Kobe, Shaq, Duncan, Wade, Durant, Dirk, Giannis, the list goes on. He’s had some solid seasons himself, as he averaged 14 points per game across seven years with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Now in his 15th season in the league, Young is still contributing to winning basketball. Since joining the Toronto Raptors at the trade deadline, he’s been an important piece off their bench. He does a little bit of everything between the lines, from shooting to passing to guarding on the perimeter and in the paint.
That do-it-all play was in full force in Toronto’s game four victory over Philadelphia. In 29 minutes, he scored thirteen points, grabbed five rebounds, dished out five dimes, stole the ball three times, and rejected one shot. Pascal Siakam and Gary Trent Jr. may have gotten more buckets, but without Thaddeus Young Toronto’s season would have ended at the final buzzer.
Young won the NBA Hustle Award for the 2020-21 season, and sequences like this are why. He grabs one offensive board, and then tips a second miss into the basket while being surrounded by blue jerseys.
Guarding Joel Embiid one-on-one is a near impossible task, but Young did his best to slow him down. He made every bucket difficult for Embiid.
The most exciting facet of Young’s game is his passing. He has a knack for getting the ball through tight spaces, hitting cutters right in stride. His high-post dime-dropping often reminds me of All-Star big Domantas Sabonis.
This is simply an incredible pass.
He was feeding Chris Boucher for slams all game long.
This isn’t anything new- he displayed his fantastic delivery ability in San Antonio early in the year.
Young’s showed the ability to push the ball a little in transition and kick it to an open teammate.
And of course, you can’t talk about his game four performance without mentioning the ankle breaker.
It’s no coincidence that Young getting big minutes for the first time in the series resulted in a win for Toronto. Although he’s far from his best days in the league, Thaddeus Young still makes winning plays on both ends of the court that make him the key to Toronto’s success.