Thaddeus Young 2019 Season Review

Veteran forward Thaddeus Young reflected on his third season with the Pacers and talked about what he has planned for the offseason.

Thaddeus Young 2019 Player Review

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Thaddeus Young 2019 Season Review

Veteran forward Thaddeus Young reflected on his third season with the Pacers and talked about what he has planned for the offseason.
May 14, 2019  |  04:13

Thaddeus Young 2018-19 Season Highlights

Check out some of the top plays from Thaddeus Young's 2018-19 season.
May 14, 2019  |  01:00

Thad's Massive One-Hand Jam

December 28, 2018: Thaddeus Young throws down a big dunk during the fourth quarter.
Dec 28, 2018  |  04:12

Player Review 2019: Thaddeus Young

by Mark Montieth Writer

Age: Turns 31 on June 21st.
Years Pro: 12
Status: Free agent
Key Stats: Played in 81 games, and for the second consecutive season could have played in all 82. Averaged 12.6 points while hitting 53 percent of his shots, including 35 percent of his 3-point attempts. Also averaged career-high 2.5 assists.

Darren Collison had this way of pronouncing "Thaddeus" that came out sounding like "Daddy-us." Which seemed appropriate, because if the Pacers had father-like figure last season, it was Thaddeus Young, the only standing captain after Victor Oladipo was lost for the season.

Young's leadership was crucial to the Pacers' ability to pry 48 victories out of a season in which their only All-Star (Oladipo) played in just 36 games. He was the steadying hand who communicated well with teammates, coaches, and the media and injected maturity into every environment.

He played steadily as well. He had, in fact, one of the best regular seasons of the 12 he's played in the NBA. His minutes dropped slightly from the previous season but his field goal percentage (.527) was among the best of his career and his 3-point percentage (.349) was second only to that of two seasons ago, his first with the Pacers. His assist average (2.5) was a career high and his rebounding average on a per-minute basis was third-best of his career.

PHOTO GALLERY: Thaddeus Young's 2018-19 Season in Photos »

Unlike the previous season, when he might have been the Pacers' MVP of the playoff series with Cleveland, his play dropped off in this year's series with Boston. He averaged 10.5 points while shooting 43 percent from the field and hit just 2-of-8 3-pointers. He did average 2.8 steals, though, still the best of all of this year's postseason performers.

His intangibles are more difficult to measure. The Pacers were often credited, often by themselves, for having a "great locker room" with a special team chemistry. Young was as responsible for that as anyone — particularly after Oladipo went down, but also while Oladipo still was playing. While Oladipo was the one playing music, singing, and joking with reporters after victories, Young was the one with the consistent and calming voice, win or lose; except when a harsher voice was needed during a timeout.

Thad Young

Photo Credit: NBAE/Getty Images

His in-game contributions were relatively quiet, too, but no less important. Take, for example, that microcosmic moment in Madison Square Garden on Halloween night, when Oladipo hit a game-breaking 3-pointer from the right corner with 21 seconds left to put the Pacers up by five points.

Oladipo got headlines for it, and deservedly so. But it was Young who jumped out of bounds to save Bojan Bogdanovic's air-balled 3-point shot and made an alert one-handed assist from mid-air to Oladipo. And it was Young who then rebounded Noah Vonleh's missed 3-pointer at the other end to clinch the victory. And it was Young who finished with the game's best plus-minus score after contributing 13 points, 10 rebounds, five steals, and one (very important) assist.

"I figure out a way to get it done," he once said. "I have a lot of resources."

Young actually was talking about his gym and workout facility in Cordova, Tenn., just outside of Memphis, when he said that. But he just as easily could have been talking about his game. He has a lot of resources from which to contribute on the court. That should make for an interesting experience in free agency this summer. While nobody will view him as the player to build around, any team could use him as a player who fits in, makes below-the-radar contributions, and lubricates team chemistry both on and off the court.

He was hoping for a long-term extension from the Pacers last summer but was left with little choice but to accept the player option to return for the final year of his previous deal. That disappointment seemed to affect his play early in the season, as he later often referred to not having fun in that period, but he got himself back on track.

Now, having crossed the threshold of 30 but seemingly as able and willing as ever, he and his Swiss Army knife game should have options. He reflected on last summer's quasi-free agency experience in the pre-season, but his thoughts then apply as much as ever to his current situation.

"My skill set is needed around the league — thank God — but at the end of the day I'm happy I came back," he said. "I'm also happy I went through the process. That gives you a feel for what's to come. I just want to go out there and play and focus on the team aspect of everything and winning games."

"Obviously when you don't get a long-term deal you're not happy, but it's not the end of the world," he added. "It could be worse; I could not have a job.

Thaddeus Young helps teams win games. So does Daddy-us. It's difficult to put a price tag on a 12-year veteran whose contributions don't always jump out of the box score, but some team will do it this summer. His potential destinations appear to be as varied as his ways of contributing.

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Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Indiana Pacers. All opinions expressed by Mark Montieth are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Indiana Pacers, their partners, or sponsors.


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