Thaddeus Young at 26-years-old is one of the elder statesman of Minnesota Timberwolves basketball. That is kind of odd to say given Young’s age, but given the fact that the T-Wolves are going into the 2014-15 season with a youth movement in place, this is the reality of Young’s situation.
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However, Young is the perfect player to be a veteran presence for Minnesota. He is a hard-nosed, blue collar player, that has played meaningful basketball games in the NBA.
Young was selected 12th overall in the 2007 NBA Draft out of Georgia Tech by the Philadelphia 76ers and played under two solid coaches with NBA playing experience in Maurice Cheeks and Doug Collins.
Collins got the best out of Young and the result was a deep playoff run that saw the young upstart 76ers take the veteran Kevin Garnett led Boston Celtics to a Game 7 in the second round of the 2011-12 playoffs.
In all, Young played on four playoff qualifying teams in Philly and those teams showed growth each and every year.
Plus, those Sixers teams had players like Elton Brand, Andre Miller, Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams and Andre Iguodala, who had proven themselves to be pretty decent commodities.
This is a totally different beast that Young is going to be taking on in Minnesota. The thing about his arrival in the “Twin Cities” is that head coach, Flip Saunders, wanted Young to be the veteran presence for his youthful T-Wolves.
Sep 29, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Thaddeus Young (33) poses for a photo during media day at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
You could even say that Saunders hand picked Thaddeus Young. Saunders wanted to get a third team involved in the Kevin Love trade that sent Love to Cleveland and brought Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett to Minnesota.
So he threw in a 2015 first-round pick that he obtained in the Love deal to acquire the services of Young.
Saunders felt that Young would be a viable replacement for Kevin Love because he is proven in the league and for what it is worth, he is only 26-years-old.
Who can blame Saunders for feeling that Young would be a strong replacement? True, he is not the double-double machine that Kevin Love is. However, he plays hard, finds ways to score with and without the ball, is athletic, and plays strong defense.
Young, along with Kevin Martin and Mo Williams, are going to provide the veteran leadership to a team that has Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, who were the overall No.1 picks in the last two drafts, Zach LaVine who was taken 13th overall in the 2014 draft, and Gorgui Dieng who is going into his second season out of Louisville.
Since being drafted out of Georgia Tech, Young has averaged 13.7 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 50% from the field.
Last year, Young averaged a career high 17.9 ppg on 45.4% shooting for the 76ers. He also finished third in the NBA with 2.1 steals per game.
After an abysmal season in Philly that saw Young have to endure a 26-game losing streak and only be part of 19-wins during the regular season, the change of scenery is going to do him some good.
Thaddeus Young is going to be a solid player for the Timberwolves that will bring a strong work ethic and provide a professional example for the young players on the team.
The T-Wolves are not going to make the playoffs, but bringing in a player like Young is going to at least make Minnesota competitive.