Thaddeus Young is just 25 years old. Yet, when the Sixers held 2013 media day at their practice facility on Friday, Young felt old.
Going into his seventh season -- all with the Sixers -- Young is playing for his fifth different coach, as well as seeing a fourth different person serve as the team’s general manager.
“I have been through a lot of coaches and a lot of players,” Young said. “It is a process that you try to get through -- another rebuilding process, so you have to have a lot of patience.”
Spencer Hawes spent his early NBA seasons playing for the Sacramento Kings, a team that was perpetually rebuilding.
“Going back to it (rebuilding), hopefully I have a different perspective,” Hawes said. “Everybody can talk about that but as players, that is not our mind set. If you listen to what people are saying, whether it is good or bad, it ends up being a distraction.”
In addition to patience, communication will be essential between head coach Brett Brown and his players, most of whom are very young and inexperienced.
“I think that was something Coach [Doug] Collins got away from his third year,” Young said. “His first and second year, he would listen to me, 'Dre ( Andre Iguodala), EB (Elton Brand), and let us dictate a lot of things on our own -- he was very good with that, and then for some reason went away from that and the communication wasn’t as good as it had been in the beginning. I am all about communication and you just telling me what is the plan, and Coach Brown has done that.”
The plan is to have a team that is the most fit and conditioned in the league (see story). Every team works on conditioning but the Sixers’ veteran players admit that Brown’s conditioning regimen is a notch above anything they have experienced in the past.
“I think the fitness is the biggest change of everything,” Young said. “Guys have never really worked this hard and haven’t seen how to work this hard and now they are putting in the time consistently. Guys are realizing what hard work and dedication to the game really is.”
“He is dead serious,” Evan Turner said when asked what he thought of Brown’s commitment to fitness. “Doug was dead serious too, but how he (Brown) plays, you have to be in shape because you are running, running, running. He is no different than any other old-school coach. Doug really preached conditioning and after you see what Brett does, you realize Doug wasn’t so crazy -- he knew what he was talking about.”
Each player had to pass a conditioning test prior to the team’s five-day training camp, which begins Saturday at Saint Joseph’s University.