Up next in the series is Thaddeus Young. To be honest, this is one of the more cut and dry decisions to be made, with one caveat. I'll get to that later.
By most metrics, Thad was the Sixers best (regular) player last year. Of players who played at least 1,000 minutes, he led the team in Win Shares (7.4, next up was Dorell Wright at 4.9), WS/48 (.136), PER (18.2), eFG% (53.2%), while coming in second to only Dorell Wright in true shooting percentage. He accumulated this production all while being 5th among regulars in usage rating.
The picture is even clearer when you look at how much the team struggled with Young off the court. The Sixers were roughly even with their opponent when he played, at -0.6 points per 100 possessions. With Young off the court? -8.7 points per 100 possessions. To put that in context, the team was outscored by -6.9 points per 100 possessions with Holiday off the court.
If there's one area that I'm the most concerned with regarding Doug Collins' departure, it's Thaddeus Young. Much was made about whether Doug Collins lost the locker room, and in from my experience there's varying degrees of truth to that, in large part dependent on which player you ask. The relationship between Young and Collins, however, has always been very strong.
Before Collins got here, Young was a wretched defender. He "held" his opponent to a 19.9 PER the year before Collins arrived, a 16.6 PER this past season. Points per possession? His man scored 0.93 pre-Collins, 0.83 last season. That's a difference between bottom third in the league to top third in the league, for those looking for context.
The pick and roll is where Collins made the biggest strides (0.866 points/possession to 0.728), as he turned Thaddeus Young's athleticism and effort into an absolute force blowing up pick and roll sets. But he's overall become better in every facet. Rotations, strength, timing. Everything.
Team defense is perhaps more impressive of a jump than individual, as the team drops from 105.6 points per 100 possessions with him on the court to 109.1 with him off.
Part of that is almost completely ditching the small forward position to one he can more adequately defend, and part of that is also Young continuing to develop strength wise, but Doug Collins got Thaddeus Young to buy into the defensive end of the court for the first time in his career. Young went from being completely lost on the defensive end to being a huge asset. That's not to say Young will forget everything he learned over the past three years, but it's something to keep an eye on.
The one caveat I had was whether the team
is looking should be looking to lose. Thaddeus Young, as much if not more than Jrue Holiday, helps keep this team competitive. I firmly believe in building through the draft. Do you trade Thad with the intent to lose?
I think that might be one step I'm not yet ready to take. If Young were older, sure. If Young had a worse contract, definitely. But Thad's 24, on a below market value contract that will expire while he's still in his physical prime. For once, we're paying somebody fair value for their current and future performance, not past performance. And Young should be able to find a role in virtually every system, even if it's in a 6th man role once again.
So I say keep. Unless I start scouting the 2014 draft and absolutely fall in love with multiple prospects. Then my decision is subject to change.
What do you guys think? Keep or go? Trade one of the two legitimate assets to go all-in for tanking?