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Sixers 95, Bobcats 92: The Missing Piece

Michael Carter-Williams and Spencer Hawes carried the Sixers for most of the night, but it was Thaddeus Young who put the final nail in the Bobcats.

Thad could always score around the basket. Now he makes threes!
Thad could always score around the basket. Now he makes threes!
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Since the 2007-08 season, Thaddeus Young has been a fan favorite in Philadelphia. He's an exciting player that possesses the ability to ignite the crowd with a huge dunk. He always plays with maximum effort, willing to sacrifice his body by taking charges and diving on the floor for 50-50 balls. A high-character person off the court, he has the same quiet and unassuming personality on it. Simply put, Young is a very good NBA player on an individual and team level.

For all of these reasons, contenders should be flooding Sam Hinkie's inbox in an effort to pry Young away from the Sixers. To be completely honest, I'm not exactly sure what to believe regarding Hinkie's plans for Young. There is one thing that I'm very confident in saying, though: The addition of a consistent three-point shot to Young's offensive arsenal has done wonders for his general value.

Young's defense has taken a dip due largely to the the team's defense falling off a cliff, which has deprived us of witnessing THAD 3.0 at full capacity. The first incarnation of Young was an exciting young wing that struggled guarding small forwards. THAD 2.0 was an energetic small-ball power forward that blew up pick-and-rolls and did most of his damage around the basket. THAD 3.0 is supposed to be the exact same player as the second version defensively, except a legitimate stretch four on offense.

Even though Young didn't play particularly well for most of Wednesday night's game against the Charlotte Bobcats, Sixers head coach Brett Brown had no problem sending him to set a simple high ball screen for Michael Carter-Williams on the game's most crucial possession. Kemba Walker, Carter-Williams' defender, elected to go under the screen, and Josh McRoberts decided to help on the rookie for a split-second too long. Young floated to the left side of the top of the key, received the pass, and knocked it down the long-ball. The 92-92 deadlock was broken, and the Sixers went onto win the game.

Even without the 39 percent three-point shooting on 2.5 attempts per game, Thaddeus Young was awesome. Now, he's slightly better. Here's the rest of the game, in bullet points:

  • Very nice offensive game for Carter-Williams, even with some early struggles finishing around the basket. For most of the game, he scored in one of two ways: Either Carter-Williams defeated Walker off the dribble and easily got into the paint with his super-long strides or he simply bullied him with methodical drives to the rim. On this night, MCW was simply too big for Walker, finishing with 20 points on 8-15 shooting.
  • That's not to say Walker didn't get his on the other end. For whatever reason, he doesn't get the publicity that some of his crossovers frankly warrant. Walker will always be remembered for the move he put on poor Gary McGhee in the Big East Tournament during UConn's title run, but he still executes some pretty nasty moves at the professional level. Even better, he (anecdotally seems to, at least) completes his amazing crossovers with a made shot on a fairly consistent basis, which can be hard. Tonight, Walker was 2-3 on JAACs (Jumpers After Awesome Crossovers), and his victims were Carter-Williams and Young.
  • Brown ran a basic, but unorthodox set to post-up Carter-Williams on Walker a couple of times. Out of the "HORNS" alignment (a big on each side of the top of the key, a wing in each corner), Carter-Williams would, in order: pass to one of the bigs; run straight down the middle of the lane in between the bigs to the rim; turn around and post-up. Nice wrinkle.
  • Rough game for Gerald Henderson (2-14 shooting), who couldn't find the touch from mid-range all night. The Episcopal product will have better nights.
  • Spencer Hawes continued his excellent offensive season with 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists. I was as hard on Hawes as anyone in the past, and he's still not a good defender... but man, that three-point shooting is an extremely valuable commodity.
  • Tony Wroten brought the WHOP on this one. Besides that highlight reel dunk though, Wroten largely struggled with five ugly turnovers. He also had nine points on 4-10 shooting, with some visually unpleasing misses thrown in there.
  • To be fair to Wroten, he was paired with Elliot Williams, Hollis Thompson, Brandon Davies, and newcomer Dewayne Dedmon for a lot of his time on the floor. By my unofficial count, during one ugly four-minute span overlapping both third and fourth quarters, that unit could only manage three points.
  • Evan Turner had an extremely forgettable (like, I actually forgot to throw him in the recap) performance for most of the night, and then the fourth quarter happened. He scored 11 points during a key four-minute stretch when the Sixers looked dead in the water. Really strong late push to very much turn his performance around. Turner finished with 23 points on 10-19 shooting, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 turnovers.
  • Cool play of the night: Brett Brown ran the "elevator doors" FOR Spencer Hawes. Hawes had to lumber through the doors, making it more of a freight elevator.
  • I enjoyed this Zumoff and Rose exchange late in the game after Carter-Williams went coast-to-coast for a layup. Zumoff said, "Michael Carter-Williams, taking I-94," to which Rose, who didn't get it right away (he wasn't alone), offered nothing. "94 feet," Zumoff explained. Rose laughed and said, "When I hang out with you, I have to bring a shovel. You're deep."

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