Thaddeus Young working with John Lucas on jump shot

Zach Lowe of SI has a wonderful question and answer with Sixers restricted free agent Thaddeus Young, covering everything from his current workout regime, his options in China, and his relationship with Doug Collins.

Perhaps most relevant (the discussion about playing in China didn't provide any new information, although a Slam interview did shed some light on this) is the information that Thad is currently working with John Lucas in Houston on his jump shot, primarily his mid-range game.

From the interview:

"I am in a gym every day working on my mid-range game. It is one of the biggest parts of my game, and I had some slippage in it last season."

The mid-range game being a weakness is definitely true, as Thad only shot 33.3% on shots between 10-15 feet last year, and 34% on shots between 16-23 feet.  The NBA average for both is around 39.5%.

What I disagree with him on is that it slipped.  Young's mid-range game has always been underdeveloped, even when he was having success at the three point line.  Those numbers were actually up from his 2010-2011 season, which saw him at a dreadful 29.4% and 29%, respectively.

Regardless, improving his mid-range game would be unquestionably good for Young, especially considering how much of his game is based off of dribble-drives from the foul line extended area.  With a tremendous first step at the power forward position and that soft touch, if Young develops a reliable mid-range game and forces defenders to defend him 18 feet from the basket, he becomes that much more of an offensive threat.

Some other thoughts from the interview(s) after the jump

On Doug Collins, Young had this to say, which was interesting:

"He was really tough. I didn't like it. I didn't like that he nitpicks everything. But at one point, I was like, "That's what I need. I need someone to stay tough with me.""

It seemed clear that there was a mutual respect developed between Thad and Collins as the year went on, and it's not surprising to me that Thad was able to recognize the good Collins could do for his game.

From the Slam interview I alluded to earlier:

"I'm definitely very, very blessed to have a coach like Coach Collins. He's definitely a teacher, a mentor, a father. He's all those in one and he helps out the team. He helps us grow as players every day."

As for Young going to China, he says the plan is to stay here, for now.

"Well, there's been a lot of talk about me going to China. As of right now-let's clear this up-I'm not going to China. There are definitely a lot of opportunities over there for me, and we've been in talks with a lot of different Chinese teams. It's still not out of the whole picture. But we're leaning towards staying over here."

There's a lot more in both of those interviews that I haven't touched on here that are worth reading.  Everything from the Lou-and-1, to the work he's doing with his foundations, more information about his workouts (and his lack of 5-5 play), team rebounding and his (lack of) guarding LeBron James in the playoffs.  Both are excellent reads.

Q&A with 76ers forward Thaddeus Young [si.com]

Q&A with Rudy Guy, Thad Young [slamonline.com]

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