Value Free Agents 2019 – Thaddeus Young

Age – 30

Previous Salary – $13,764,045

Indiana Pacers – they have his bird rights

2018/19 season – twelve points, six rebounds, two assists.

Thaddeus Young is a premium role player in the NBA. At 30 years old he has just come off one of the best seasons in his career. An elite defender at the power forward position, Young played defense at an ALL-NBA level this season. Whether defending out to the perimeter on smaller players or in help defense off the ball, Young has multiple high level skills on the less glamorous end of the floor.

Offensively he has a well rounded game with a strong package at the rim, and then a hook and jump shot within ten feet. In his three years with the Pacers he has shot 34.6% from three. Though this isn’t elite he only takes two shots a game, and shooting around league average means he has to be guarded out there. Young knows his game so well, his shot profile shows he takes 90% of his shots from three point range or between the rim and ten feet. He scored on 51% of his hook shots this year, strong efficiency on almost two attempts a game.

On the defensive end, Young averages 1.5 steals a game. Andre Drummond is the only big man outside of Young to average more than 1.5 steals a game. This ranks him in the 96th percentile for his position also, per Cleaning the Glass. His decision making on defense is also excellent, he only fouls on 3% of possessions. In the below clip Young is protecting the rim and sees the mismatch with Al Horford being guarded by Tyreke Evans. He calls Evans away as he sees Jayson Tatum wants to throw the entry pass to Horford. Using his long arms he anticipates the entry pass then gets in front of Horford, poking the ball away and recovering it.

His anticipation, especially when defending or helping on pick and roll defense is exceptional. His help instincts arent matched by many bigs in the league. His long arms enable him to poke the ball away and he can cover multiple spots on the floor. In this clip he is guarding Lebron James on the perimeter, he bodies Lebron up and sends him left. Lebron gives the ball up to George Hill in the corner, when Hill drives baseline Young stunts to him and then anticipates the pass back to an open Lebron. He then jumps back to the post and steals the ball.

Young may end up back on the Pacers without taking any free agency meetings with other teams. But prospective teams should look to throw him an offer still. He has only missed 34 games in the past seven seasons and is peaking at age thirty. His defensive presence and versatility along with a well rounded and unselfish offensive game makes him a perfect complementary piece on a playoff contender. In the past regular season Young had the same amount of win shares as Russell Westbrook and Tobias Harris. He may not have the hype around him in free agency that Harris has, but he would provide similar total value.

A four year deal worth fifty million would represent Young’s value nicely. Though it remains to be seen if this is on the Pacers or another team, he will again provide value beyond the box score to whichever team he ends up on.