Why Thaddeus Young Has Been Worth the Big Pay Day
*Photo via USA Today
The Nets didn’t make a splash this off-season, but one thing they did do was re-sign Thaddeus Young to a max contract. And some that thought the price paid for Young’s services were too steep, and that he wouldn’t live up to his deal. Most saw Young as just an undersized power forward that couldn’t shoot the three.
Plus, there were questions about his long term potential. Critics were quick to point out that Young had only one or two go-to-moves in the post, and that he was only good on one block. Young worked on his game in the off-season and it’s paid off in the early going of the season.
So far this season, Young has been the Nets’ best and most consistent player. He’s averaging 16 points, and nine rebounds a game (a career high) this season. His field goal percentage (53%) is also his best since the 2010-2011 season.
He’s been a reliable player for the team this year, scoring big buckets for the Nets when they needed one the most. Even in the Nets’ home win against the Houston Rockets, it was Young and Joe Johnson that sealed the deal down the stretch. Young made a couple of plays late in the game that helped guarantee the win for Brooklyn.
Besides his overall stats, he has been a really great compliment to center Brook Lopez, who also got a big pay day in the off-season. He’s helped rebound the basketball, something Lopez still struggles to do consistently. He also provides another low post scorer for the team.
*Photo via USA Today
The two of them have combined to be the league’s highest scoring four and five tandem. Also, the Nets are third in the league in points in the paint, led by Young and Lopez.
Young has been a great play-maker for the Nets. He’s their second leading scorer behind Lopez and leads the team in rebounds. He’s also just behind Lopez as the team’s best passing big as well.
He’s been proving some of his critics wrong this year as well. Criticized for only being good on one side of the basket, he’s worked on ways to score on both blocks this season. Whether it’s using set up moves to get back to his strong side, or learning to put the ball up over both shoulders, Young has been an improved low-post scorer on both sides of the basket this season, and is still improving. With only 20 something games in, there is still plenty of time for him to improve even more on his low-post moves.
With everything that he has been able to accomplish, there are still ways he can improve even more. The biggest thing would be if he can become a three-point threat. Young’s a decent mid range shooter, but if he can extend his range out past the three point line, his value will go way up.
He also has to become a better free throw shooter. He’s only shooting 58% from the charity stripe this season. He’ll have to improve that number if he really wants to help the Nets win. He shoots it just under 70% for his career, so if he can get back to that number, the team would really benefit from it.
All in all, Young has been worth the pay check so far this season. He’s proving his value on offense, and is hustling on defense and as well as on the boards. If the Nets can improve their wing play, the team will manage some more wins.
The Nets have looked better of late, Young’s play has been a big reason for that. Look for that to continue as we get further into the still “Young” season.