2020-21 NBA Awards

Bulls' Thaddeus Young wins 2020-21 NBA Hustle Award

Bulls forward Thaddeus Young led all NBA players in charges drawn and offensive loose balls recovered on a per-minute basis.

Chicago Bulls forward Thaddeus Young hustles for a loose ball.

Chicago Bulls forward Thaddeus Young is the winner of the 2020-21 NBA Hustle Award, which honors the player that makes the energy and effort plays to help his team win throughout the season. Since the award debuted following the 2016-17 season, Young has finished in the top nine each year before finally breaking through and winning the award in his 14th NBA season.

NBA Hustle Award Winners

Year Winner Team Young’s Final Ranking
2020-21 Thaddeus Young Chicago 1st
2019-20 Montrezl Harrell LA Clippers 7th
2018-19 Marcus Smart Boston 9th
2017-18 Amir Johnson Philadelphia 2nd
2016-17 Patrick Beverley Houston 9th

The Hustle Award rewards players that do the little things that don’t often show up in the traditional box score, but have been tracked since the 2016 Playoffs when the NBA debuted its Hustle Stats, which include: deflections, loose balls recovered, charges drawn, screen assists, contested shots and box outs.

2020-21 Hustle Award Top Five

Rank Player Team Position
1 Thaddeus Young Chicago F
2 Ben Simmons Philadelphia G
3 Jae’Sean Tate Houston F
4 Draymond Green Golden State F
5 Jrue Holiday Milwaukee G

In addition to Young’s 12.1 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game, career-high 4.3 assists per game, 1.1 steals per game and career-high 55.9% shooting, he also excelled in the hustle box score.

Thaddeus Young’s Hustle Stats and Rankings

Hustle Stat Per 1 Minute Rank (Overall)
Charges Drawn 0.012 1st
Deflections 0.088 15th
Offensive Loose Balls Recovered 0.022 1st
Defensive Loose Balls Recovered 0.010 87th
Offensive Box Outs 0.023 9th
Defensive Box Outs 0.054 22nd
Screen Assists 0.108 18th
Contested 2PT Shots 0.171 26th
Contested 3PT Shots 0.099 30th

 Note: Rankings among eligible players that played a minimum of 51 games (70% of team total of 72) and at least 24 minutes per game.

Young led all players in charges drawn and offensive loose balls recovered on a per-minute basis. All hustle stats are measured on a per-minute basis as to even the comparison among players that play varying amounts of minutes per game.

With Young averaging 24.3 minutes per game, he did not have the same number of opportunities to rack up hustle stats as players that logged more minutes. But when Young was on the court, he made his impact felt. And that impact goes beyond the hustle stats; when we look at Young’s traditional numbers on a per-minute basis, he is one of only 12 players to average at least 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists per 36 minutes.

While the charges that Young drew did appear in the traditional box scores as a turnover for the opposing team, Young did not get credited for that turnover the way he would if he had stole the ball. And when it comes to recovering loose balls on offense, he was essentially preventing his team from committing turnovers, which again he gets no credit for in the traditional box score, but did help his team retain a possession and not add to their already high 15.1 turnovers per game (27th in league).

When we look at on-court/off-court differential, we see that the Bulls were 10.0 points per 100 possessions better with Young on the court than when he was off the court – the highest differential of the 12 Bulls players that logged at least 500 minutes this season. The Bulls net rating was at its best with Young on the court (plus-4.1 net rating in 1,652 minutes) and at its worst when he was off the court (minus-5.9 net rating in 1,824 minutes).

His per 36 minute traditional stats tell part of that story as he impacted all aspects of the game – scoring, rebounding, playmaking and defense. But when we add in his hustle stats, we get an even clearer picture of the impact that he had on the court for the Bulls this season, which is reflected in his on-court/off-court numbers and has earned him this end-of-season recognition.