Thaddeus Young emerged as one of the key players in the Sixers playoff run this season. The serious Sixth Man of the Year candidate is holding Thaddeus Young 21 Hoops, a basketball camp for kids, next week in King of Prussia and chatted with us this afternoon about his future, the potential NBA lockout, Coach Collins, Allen Iverson, and which of his teammates is best/worst on Twitter.
Enrico: So yesterday was your birthday, did you do anything exciting to celebrate?
Thad Young: No. I didn't do anything exciting. Just lived my birthday as any other day. Being the middle of the week, you can't really do too much anyway.
Enrico: The Sixers recently tendered you a qualifying offer which allows them to match any offers you receive from other teams. What would be your ideal situation for you going forward?
Thad: Just looking for something long term, try to keep building on the team chemistry. I definitely don't want to have to sign a qualifying offer to play for one year. I want to be with Philadelphia. I want to be here long term. That's the team I've been with, that's the team I was drafted by. I'm like brothers with those guys now. I have a great relationship with the coaching staff and the front office. It's been an ideal situation. I love being there.
Enrico: How worried are you about potentially being a free agent during this mess with the CBA and a possible lockout? How is it changing the way you're approaching the off-season?
Thad: I'm definitely going to approach the offseason by doing the same thing I've always been doing. The only thing I'm probably not doing is playing five-on-five. Other than that I'm still working out, still shooting, still trying to stay in conditioning shape.
Enrico: Does the NFL lockout situation worry you about what's next with the NBA?
Thad: You definitely have to be conscious of it and be worried about it. This is 400+ guys livelihood. This is how we eat and stuff like that. At the end of the day, if you save well, you'll be fine. It's still something we love to do. We don't want to have a long summer and not play basketball for a whole year. We'd rather go out there and play the game we love so much.
Enrico: It seems like Coach Collins really took a shine to you as the season went on. What do you think made his relationship with the team's core guys such a positive one, and do you think he'll be able to maintain those bonds for the next season and beyond?
Thad: Yes, definitely. Coach Collins is a guy that's going to stay on you and coach you really hard-nosed. He wants the best out of each and every one of his players, it's just a matter if you can see that or not. Some guys had a hard time seeing it initially, but once he did form that relationship, the guys who bought into it really succeeded and played well. For instance, Jodie Meeks and Jrue Holiday, those guys really took off this season and had two great seasons.
Enrico: During your exit interview at the end of the season, which parts of your game did Doug Collins say he most wanted you to work on?
Thad: Pretty much developing that mid-range jumper like [Elton] has. They know I can do just about anything, and they want me to develop that mid-range jumper to where it's consistent, so that I knock down every wide open shot. Since I can't play five-on-five, that's pretty much all I've been doing is shooting jump shots.
Enrico: Are you comfortable in your role as a first-guy-off-the-bench scorer? You excelled in the role last year, but moving forward, are you hoping to play somewhere where you'll have the chance to be a starter again?
Thad: It's all about what the team needs. The team needed me to come off the bench so I had to buy into the role. It was hard at first to buy into it because I felt like I should have been starting, but at the end of the day we won games. When the game plan was fulfilled, with me being the sixth man, we had a successful season. It's whatever the team wants. If they want me to continue to be the sixth man or start at the three or the four, it doesn't matter.
Enrico: Were you rooting against the Heat in the finals? Did you talk to any of the other guys about it?
Thad: I wasn't really rooting against them, no. That was just an amazing series, maybe one of the best ever. The Heat hung tough though.
Enrico: Do you think Allen Iverson has anything left to offer the NBA? What was he like as a teammate when you played with him during his second stint with the Sixers?
Thad: It was pretty cool being Allen's teammate. When he came to the team, he had people waiting for him outside of the hotel and stuff like that. We had a chance to see what it was like when Aaron McKie and that first set of guys played with him. He was like a rock star with that team. I think he still has something left in the tank. He's a great guy. I actually sat next to him in the locker room at the practice facility. He would call me "Young Punk" and stuff like that. He's funny, I like him as a person. And he definitely wasn't the same guy people may have told you about. He's actually really humble. He brought a great and positive attitude to the locker room.
Enrico: Toughest player you've ever guarded?
Thad: Dwyane Wade is definitely the toughest to guard. He's got that crazy first move that's just so quick.
Enrico: Including your coaches (Collins, Snyder, McKie) who is the best shooter during practices at PCOM?
Thad: Aaron McKie or Coach Curry. [Curry] doesn't shoot the three, but he has that nice mid-range game. Aaron McKie has the three pointer and the mid-range game.
Enrico: Favorite things to do in Philly? Restaurants? Hidden gems?
Thad: I like to probably go to Del Frisco's Steak House, that's about it. I like to do regular stuff. I do like to go to the movies though. I like to see all the new movies that come out.
Enrico: Which of your teammates are the best/worst at Twitter?
Thad: Lou Will is definitely the best. Marreese Speights is definitely the worst. I can't even understand what he's saying half the time.
Enrico: Can you ask Lou Williams to unblock me on Twitter? What's up with that?
Thad: [laughs] He does love to block anybody that says anything negative about him. I can ask for you though.
Finally, tell us a little bit about your basketball camp. (Details: June 27-July 1, Competitive Edge Sports, 320 South Henderson Road, King of Prussia, PA 19046)
It should be a lot of fun. It's for kids from 7-17 years old. They can register at http://www.thadyoung.com. We really focus on all aspects of the game, from improving shooting and dribbling to defense, rebounding, an
d post moves. It should be a real fun environment and a chance to interact with the local kids.