Sixers begin first training camp under Brett Brown
It was a pretty eventful summer for Thad Young.
Headed into his seventh NBA season with the Sixers, Young spent the offseason conducting his basketball camp, coaching his AAU team and witnessing the birth of his second son.
All of that left little time for much aside from Young’s workouts to prepare for the upcoming season.
Wherever that would be.
Like a lot of veterans on the Sixers, Young, 25, saw the draft-night wheeling and dealing by new general manager Sam Hinkie and wondered who was next. After all, if the Sixers were willing to trade away an All-Star like Jrue Holiday, Young could be next.
Considering that Young is signed through 2014-15 with a player option for 2015-16 and $28.2 million remaining on his current deal, he seemed like the type of player Hinkie would deal in his rebuilding of the Sixers.
“It was definitely a high possibility,” Young said about the prospect of being traded. “I thought if Jrue could go anybody can go now. But I’m still here. Obviously they see something in me that they don’t see in anyone else on the roster, so I’m still here and still ready to work.”
Evan Turner is still with the Sixers, too, even though his name popped up on the trade rumor mill pretty steadily. Like Young, Turner saw the draft night deals and wondered if he was on the way out, especially because he was in the last year of his contract.
But Turner handled the possibility of being traded with his usual good humor.
“I was ready,” Turner said. “I was just hoping I was going some place warm.”
But back with the Sixers, Turner and Young are moving into new roles with redefined goals. Young talked about possibly making the playoffs, but knows it would be a lightning-in-a-bottle type of thing. On media day, the typical bravado about taking on the Heat in the East or the Knicks and Nets in the Atlantic Division was not so conspicuously missing.
Young and Turner know exactly who the 2013-14 Sixers are.
“Every day is going to be a struggle and a grind,” Turner said.
It’s a little different for Young, who has seen all of this before. His seventh season brings on the fifth different coach he’s played for and yet more chatter about rebuilding and looking toward the future. This time, though, the rebuilding is more encompassing — from the front office down to the 12th man — but it’s no more frustrating.
It seems as if the dreaded word for anyone in the NBA is “rebuilding.”
“Any time you hear the word rebuilding or we’re going in a different direction, there’s always frustration. You feel like you’re starting to go somewhere and then, poof, it’s gone,” Young said. “But at the end of the day, this is my job. I have to come in and be ready to work each and every day. This year, as opposed to other years, I’m going to have to be ready to lead my troops and lead my team into battle.”
For veterans like Turner and Young on a team not expected to be in the playoff mix, success can’t really be measured in wins and losses. The stat line could be a place to look for success, especially since Turner is headed into his free-agent year.
But Turner and Young say they are going to measure success this season in different terms. If the young guys can grow and the team keeps the big picture in sight, then, yes, that’s success.
It doesn’t have to be personal, Young said.
“It’s never personal. I’m always looking at the team goals,” Young said. “Personally I want to achieve a lot of goals, but you have to look at it from the team standpoint and we’re building it from scratch. It’s going to take time.
“We’re a young team and we’re going to take our bumps and bruises, but at the end of the day, we love the game and we love coming out here and playing.”
When he looks at the roster, Turner must salivate when thinking of all the extra shots that are going to fall his way. Then again, who wouldn’t?
Still, Turner knows he can gain more if the team develops. It’s going to be rough, but then again, anything worthwhile is difficult.
“This is a rebuilding year and we have to develop the young guys and that’s pretty much it,” Turner said. “If it comes out that I have to take some more shots, who would be mad at that? But I’m just coming out to be prepared and to compete.
“I think if we all focus on one goal and see the bigger picture, that’s a success right there. If we go out every night and compete, that’s a success.”