Many people have been waiting for Thaddeus Young to breakout into one of the better players in the league. He’s always been good, but often overlooked. However, with the Philadelphia 76ers roster taking a complete 180 this offseason, Young will have the chance to emerge into one of the better young small forwards in the game.
In the process, he’ll warrant even more fantasy attention.
Sixers fans have a pretty firm idea of how good their 25-year old small forward is. But those who aren’t as savy as many other fantasy owners tend to overlook the versatility and multi-category value that Young provides them with seemingly every year. Since 2008, he’s quietly averaged slightly under 14 points per contest, and has basically been a lock for five or six rebounds. Of course, throughout his career, he has been the third or fourth scoring option on the team, but that will most certainly change this season.
The Sixers shipped All-Star point guard Jrue Holliday during the draft, which was pretty shocking. Holliday was the team’s leading scorer last season, averaging a career-high 17.7 points per game. He took almost 1,300 shots last season, and Young didn’t nearly see enough looks to matter as much as fantasy owners would like. In fact, Young posted the lowest shot total (687) since his rookie season. While Holliday is a great player, his departure should provide Young to be this team’s primary scorer. There is a lot of value surrounding Young this season. He will see the highest scoring opportunity of his entire career, he is dual-eligible, having power forward and small forward eligibility. Young gets you a little mix of everything. He’ll get points, rebounds, steals, a solid field goal percentage. Consider him the Swiss Army Knife of fantasy basketball. I fully expect Thad to set a career-high in shots this season, in what figures to be one of the most statistical-friendly seasons of his career. The talent around him may not be as good, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing for his value. Young, a veteran on this new roster, will be called upon to log a ton of minutes, as well as provide more of a scoring touch. Sure, he loses Holliday, but rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams could actually help his value. MCW is a playmaker, averaging an impressive 7.3 assists per contest, and he can force turnovers (2.8 steals), which could lead to more scoring opportunities. And considering how poor of a shooter he is (39.3 FG% last year with Syracuse), I’d be surprised if he demanded a ton of shots.
Currently, Young is coming off the board as the 12th small forward in ESPN drafts. Notable guys ahead of him include Andre Iguodala, Kawhi Leonard and Paul Pierce. I would much rather take the significant upside and volume of Young ahead of these guys. I like Young as a breakout candidate this season, but we could also be looking at a dark horse to make the All-Star team out of the East.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.