Bulls Season Highlights: Thad Young
*65 game season
The Bulls are one of the youngest teams in the NBA. Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. were born in 1997 and 1999, respectively. Coby White just turned 20 years old this past February. Enter Thaddeus Young, now a thirteen-year veteran from Georgia Tech, who the Bulls acquired in free agency in 2019. Young’s best playing days may be behind him (his career-high of 17.9 points per game came during the 2013-2014 season with the 76ers) but Thad can certainly still contribute on both ends of the floor. Playing in 64 of the 65 games this season, his value as a leader on the practice floor, the team buses and planes, and as an overall NBA professional goes beyond what shows up on a stat sheet.
"He's a dude who you love having on the team,” said Zach LaVine earlier in the season when asked about Young. “You know what he brings. You know his mentality... I love having Thad out there."
Young’s season averages dipped below his career averages as he didn’t see consistent 30-minute outings until Lauri Markkanen was sidelined later into the season. But Young showed his willingness to be a team-guy and accepted his role. Not known in the league to be a three-point specialist, he knocked down 79 3’s this year. Averaging 1.2 makes from deep per game this season (only the second time in his career he’s averaged over one made three per game), he would’ve certainly broke his personal single-season best of 90 3’s had the Bulls played a full season. Going into next season, the Bulls should continue to lean on Young for his toughness, versatility, defending, veteran savvy, and leadership.
Thaddeus Young throws down a monster left-hander against the Pacers.
Let's take a look at two of Thad's notable performances this season:
DECEMBER 11, 2019 VS ATLANTA (BULLS 136, HAWKS 102)
Young Stat Line: 15 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals
Young didn’t light up the Hawks in scoring but displayed a nice all-around game off the bench as the Bulls easily took care of the Hawks. Late in the first quarter, Young showcased his versatility on back-to-back possessions. In the span of about 13 seconds of playing time, Young drove into the lane to make a lefty hook-shot, intercepted a Hawks outlet pass like he was an NFL safety, dribbled the ball up the floor, and splashed a three off the right wing. On another first-half possession after missing a reverse layup that put the Hawks in transition, Young sprinted back up the floor to poke the ball away from a downhill-running Trae Young to get the ball back. Zach LaVine was the story of the game, scoring 35 points in three quarters, but Young’s contributions were palpable - leading the Bulls in minutes played (33) and plus-minus (+33) along with assists (6).
FEBRUARY 23, 2020 VS WASHINGTON (BULLS 126, WIZARDS 117)
Young Stat Line: 23 points (8-14 FG, 5-7 3PT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals
Zach LaVine, Coby White, and Thad Young combined to score 88 of Chicago’s 126 total points which was enough to overpower a career-high 53 points from Washington’s Bradley Beal. Offensively, Young was feeling it from beyond the arc, nailing five threes all on catch-and-shoot opportunities. It was the first time Young hit five triples in a game since December 2016 when Young scored six 3’s with the Indiana Pacers.