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Young: An 'Old Guy' Who Is Ready To Lead Wolves

Dane Mizutani
Web Editorial Associate

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Thaddeus Young was the ‘old guy’ at the State Fair last week.

Though he actually looked very much like Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and Zach LaVine onstage at the introductory press conference, he’s definitely the grizzled old veteran of the group as he boasts more NBA experience than the other three players combined. Young sported a Wolves polo with black shorts accented by his black and yellow Nikes, and spoke with a sense of confidence that Wiggins, Bennett, and LaVine didn’t seem to possess quite yet. 

Young has reason to carry himself a bit more confidently as he’s been around the block a few times. He may not be the No. 1 pick with all the hype, or the former No. 1 pick with loads of potential, or the flashy dunker that can jump out of the gym. Young will, however, be a leader of that group and could quickly morph into one of the leaders on the team this year.

“He's a super character individual,” Flip Saunders said after the blockbuster trade was announced last week. “He will add as much to our locker room with his presence, his leadership as he will with his athletic ability.”

Young is entering his eighth NBA season after he was selected after just one season at Georgia Tech. He’s never been a stat sheet stuffer in his career, though he did have the best season of his career last year. Young averaged 17.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assists last season on a Philadelphia 76ers team that appeared to be doing everything in its power to tank amid a rebuilding process.

“It was definitely tough and frustrating at times,” Young said, “I've always made the best out of situations by just going out there and playing the game that I love so dearly … so I think that made it a little easier for me to go out there.”

Young will again be a part of a rebuilding process this season in Minnesota, though it doesn’t appear that this team has any plans of tanking. He said it wasn’t easy leaving Philly after spending his entire career there, though he noted that he’s excited for the vision the Wolves have in place as of right now.

“I still hold Philadelphia close to my heart,” Young said, “but at the end of the day it's a business and I know I have to start a new chapter of my life. I'm hopeful this journey is going to be another long journey.” 

That journey could be a bit tumultuous this season with the roster laden with unproven talent. That’s where Young will be very important this season. He said he embraces the leadership role he’ll likely shoulder in Minnesota this season, and while he might not classify himself as the ‘old guy’ of the group, he knows he’ll be looked upon to provide some guidance to some of the younger guys.

“It's just I have more years than everybody, a little bit more experience,” Young said. “It's a great thing for all the guys. It’s a great thing for me. I can step into a situation where I already kind of know some of the concepts and I can help the young guys get better.” 

Young could specifically be responsible for helping Bennett reach his full potential this season. Bennett will likely backup Young when the season starts in a few months, and will have the opportunity to learn under the veteran all season.

“I know I can talk to him,” Bennett said. “He told me that if there's anything I need I can go to him and hit him up.” 

As the four players stood up and walked off the stage at the State Fair last week Young stopped to snap a selfie with the crowd. Though the might be the ‘old guy’ of the group, Young still carries himself as a guy in his 20s, a guy that’s ready for whatever lies ahead this season.

“I'm very happy, very excited,” he said. “It's a fresh start and a new chapter in my life. It’s like the slogan says ... we'll keep our eyes on the rise.”