Amid trade rumors, Thad Young gearing up on D

Amid trade rumors, Thad Young gearing up on D
December 23, 2013, 3:00 pm

Thad Young is averaging 16.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.4 steals this season. (USA Today Images)

The fact that Thaddeus Young’s twitter handle is @yungsmoove21 is appropriate; the Yung/Young is obvious; the smoove (or smooth), he just does not get enough credit for.

Two nights ago when the Sixers lost their 20th game of the season in Milwaukee, Young scored a season-high 30 points. For his seven-year career he shoots 51.1 percent from the floor, and this season he is averaging a career-best 16.8 points per game.

“I have just been trying to bring a lot of energy to the game,” Young said, "trying to help my teammates in any way possible, not just on the offensive end but also the defensive end. Talking and keeping everyone in sync with the game and keeping everyone focused.”

Defense is where Brett Brown has been taking notice of Young’s commitment and improvement.

“I have been especially pleased with Thaddeus lately,” Brown said. “I think Thaddeus is really starting to show his versatility where he can do some different things with smalls and bigs.”

The Sixers' defense does not have much to boast about as they give up the most points in the NBA per game (111.7). Opponents are shooting 47.1 percent (third-highest) and 38.3 percent from three (fourth-highest).

Brown repeatedly has pointed out that the team does not possess that individual defensive stopper, but Young’s play clearly says he is trying to change that.

“I try to be able to be all over the court, scrambling,” Young said. “When guys come together, being able to switch -- I might go from guarding a four to guarding a point guard and I can keep them in front of me and make them take some tough shots.

“I just try to keep a body between them and the basket. Being able to switch one through four brings great versatility to the defensive end.”

Young has also expanded his offensive game to include shooting the three-pointer. Over the previous three seasons Young attempted a total of 34 threes, making eight.

The Sixers, as a team, ranked sixth in fewest three-pointers attempted during the Doug Collins coaching era.

Brown has changed the team’s status in that category to 10th-highest, with the Sixers attempting more than 22 threes per game.

For his part, Young has connected on 22 of 50 attempts (44 percent) from behind the arc in his 25 games played, including a perfect 7 for 7 over his last two contests.

“Basically, I am just taking good shots that come to me,” Young explained. “When I receive the ball I am just trying to be aggressive and if a three-point shot comes and I am wide open and I have time to keep my feet set and get ready I am going to shoot it.”

Amidst rumors that Young has asked to be traded or that the Sixers are shopping him, the solid seven-year veteran is at the top of his game.