The Thaddeus Young Experiment

Indiana Pacers forward Thaddeus Young (21) scores a basket against the Toronto Raptors during the first half at the Air Canada Centre.
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports



Hustler, glass cleaner, solid from the field, and a leader. All words you might us

e to describe a player the Pacers found themselves acquiring during last year’s off-season. But in a season that ended up being less productive than the front office and players would have desired, the question must be asked of each acquisition from last year, was it worth it?

The man in question currently is Thaddeus Young, traded to the Indiana Pacers for a second-round pick, and the No. 20 pick overall last year, Thaddeus was, at least in the front office’s eyes, being looked at as a potential locker room leader. Someone who could come in and teach hustle, instill loyalty and bond with his teammates, and breed team chemistry, all while being productive on the floor. This wasn’t the first time Thaddeus was asked to be in this role, having been asked by both the Nets, and the 76ers. Having been in this position before, the question would now be, would he flourish or flop like Marcus Smart?

A good start is to look at the statistics, as they help determine a player’s on-court leadership and hustle. Thaddeus Young played incredible defense, the key to any championship, and was only slightly behind Paul George in steals last season, averaging 1.5 a game. Moving to the offensive side, he shot 52.7% overall, and 38% from three-point land. However, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. He shot an atrocious free throw percentage, 52.3%, and his PPG saw a hit, dropping from 15.1 to 11.0 this season. He generally stayed healthy as well, playing 74 games this year.

Saying whether Thaddeus is a definite leader for the Pacers is tough to judge, but I do believe he is a hustler and someone who generally brings their best every night. Below is a pros and cons table, analyzing his first year with us. I won’t say for sure whether he’s a good leader, but hopefully, the table can help you decide.


Pros Cons
Been in a leadership role before, familiar with the role. Points, rebounding, assists, and blocks per game all took a hit this past year.
Increased his three-point percentage & overall FG percentage this past season Failed to shoot well at all from the free-throw line.
Stayed generally healthy Fails to average “starter” numbers, would more than likely be a role-player elsewhere. (AKA, not the Nets or Pacers)
Averaged a generous amount of steals, playing consistently on defense. While he shot well from three, Thaddeus Young made one 3-pointer (out of 15 total attempts) from Jan 26th to the end of the season. “Stretch four” is stretching it. Source


Jack House

Aspiring Sports Journalist and Admininstrator. Ivy Tech ASAP student.