Thaddeus Young has been one of the most consistent and productive players during the dismal string of seasons the Sixers are struggling through. He has done just about everything the organization has asked since drafting him after one season at Georgia Tech.
He has been a 35-minute-per-game starter and also accepted a reserve role. He has played multiple positions and adapted his game to fit the needs of whoever happened to be the Sixers coach at the time. Despite his lack of a clearly defined role, Young's production has remained incredibly consistent, averaging between 12.7 and 15.3 points per game throughout the past five seasons. His effort is always evident as well, which is more than can be said about some of the Sixers' current crop.
Young's versatility and ability to play multiple positions has been an enormous asset to the organization. However, it seems that this is a situation in which his gift may also be construed as a curse.
His lack of a clear-cut professional position, while it has been beneficial for the Sixers up to this point, has served as the biggest knock against his game since coming out of college. At about 6'8", 230 pounds, Young is slightly undersized, in both height and muscle mass, to play power forward. Although he is a polished perimeter player, his speed and outside shooting must improve for him to be a starting small forward.
Considering the current uncertain state of the Sixers, one can only hope that all upcoming trades and draft picks are made as part of a plan to build and fortify the foundation of the franchise for the future. The team, as mish-mashed as it is, is well beyond a quick fix and needs to build from the bottom. With that being said, one has to wonder where Young fits going forward.
It is unfortunate to even suggest shopping Young's services considering how much he has meant to the Sixers, and the fact that he is one of the few players currently under contract that is actually worth his weight.
However if he stays, where is he going to play?
Believe it or not, the Sixers don't want to continue playing musical starters forever. As having a consistent, defined starting five that doesn't change thirty-five times throughout the season may actually be beneficial to a basketball team. (Apparently Doug Collins missed this memo.)
The Sixers need some structure and cannot continue tinkering with player positions. So, is Thad Young really a long-term solution at one of the starting forward spots? Maybe, but based on his first six seasons his status as a "tweener" is likely to stick.
Young is one of the players on the current roster that has near universal value and the Sixers may get something decent in return if they decide to trade him.
Despite his fan favorite status, it may be wise for the Sixers to see what kind of value Young draws this summer. It does not mean they have to trade him for nothing, a la Andre Iguodala, but judging interest in him can't hurt.