You never know how players are going to react to trade rumors. Sometimes the ego-bruising involved in being mentioned in them at all takes a while to recover from, as might the disappointment of such a deal ultimately not coming to fruition. The latter seemed it could have been a particular worry for our fed-up power forward Thaddeus Young, who reportedly asked for a trade several weeks ago, and was included in talks of an Omer Asik deal with Houston that never materialized before the Rockets' self-imposed Dec. 19th deadline came and went.
All credit to Thad, though, since rather thank going in the tank post-Asik deadline, the no-deal appears to have had the exact opposite effect on him. In the four games since Dec. 19th, Thaddeus Young has simply been one of the best frontcourt players in basketball, with numbers that are almost beyond belief: 27.5 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 2.5 APG, 2.5 SPG, and all on 55% shooting and 65% from three. The numbers of his last four performances--in which the Sixers went 2-2, by the way--have raised his season averages to about his career norms, nullifying the uncharacteristically slow start he was off to this season.
The most staggering part, of course, is the three-point shooting. Thad has never shot over 35% for a season, and has generally been seen as a subpar outside shooter for his career, but he's been so friggin' hot these last four games that he actually hit ten three-pointers in a row at one point. Ten in a row! That's two more total than he made the last three seasons combined! In a season of super-unlikely happenings...well, it still might not crack top five for this dumbstriking Sixers team, but it's probably top ten at least.
Perhaps just as incredible for Thaddeus, though, were the back-to-back 30-point, ten-rebound games in road losses to the Bucks and Suns. Not only were they the very first two 30-point, ten-rebound games of Thad's six-plus-season NBA career, but they mark the first time that a Sixer has had back-to-back 30-point/ten-board games since Charles Barkley back in 1992, and only the second time that any player has had two such consecutive games this NBA season. (Though remarkably, both Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant have done it in the handful of days since--good players.)
It would appear that rather than sulk his way through what might be his final days as a 76er, Thaddeus Young has instead decided to force the Sixers' hand by raising his trade value to unforeseen heights with his super-awesome play of late. Don't think I can be a stretch four? Fine, Thad says, HERE'S TEN GODDAMN THREE-POINTERS IN A ROW I'M EVEN BANKING 'EM IN I CAN'T EVEN MISS WHEN I WANT TO. Production slipping a bit? Fine, Thad says, HERE'S ALL OF THE POINTS AND REBOUNDS TAKE 'EM I DON'T EVEN WANT 'EM ANYMORE. If he really wants to be traded, this is just about the constructive way Thaddeus could hit us over the head with that point.
So, who wants to leak the reports that Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes have demanded to be packaged together in a trade? We could use some ET hot shooting streaks and weird big-man triple-doubles.